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G.C.B., G.C.H., G.C.M.G., K.T.S., K.Sx.G., K.M.T., &c., 











THE materials for the following " Life of Field-Marshal 
Lord Seaton " are drawn (i) from his own letters and those 
of his wife and his friends, (2) from reports taken down by 
his daughters (from about 1847 onwards) of his spoken 
references to events in which he took part, (3) from the 
recollections of persons now living, (4) from published 

For the use of letters, I am indebted in the first place 
to the Hon. Lady Montgomery-Moore, whose anxiety to 
see some such monument raised to her revered father's 
memory was my first encouragement towards undertaking 
this work ; and secondly to the Lord Seaton, to Lieutenant- 
Colonel the Hon. F. L. Colborne, to Miss Mary Yonge 
of Yealmpton, to John Yonge, Esq., of Puslinch, to Miss 
H. E. Yonge of Eastleigh, Hants, to the Hon. W. N. Bruce, 
grandson of Sir William Napier, and to Lieutenant-Colonel 
A. F. Mockler-Ferryman, Oxfordshire Light Infantry, who, 
one and all, put the letters and memoranda which were in 
their possession at my disposal. I have also to thank 
Field-Marshal H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge for per- 
mission to publish two of his letters addressed to Lord 

For the portraits and other illustrations given in this 
book, I am indebted to His Grace the Duke of Wellington, 
the Lord Seaton, General Sir Alexander and the Hon. 
Lady Montgomery-Moore, the Hon. and Rev. Graham 
Colborne, Colonel the Hon. F. L. Colborne, and John 
Yonge, Esq., of Puslinch. 

In the course of my work I have received most valu- 
able assistance and criticism from many sources. I must 
particularly mention General Sir Alexander and Lady 
Montgomery-Moore, the Lord Seaton, whose hospitality 
enabled me to see with my own eyes many of the scenes 
described in this book, the Hon. and Reverend Graham 
Colborne, Colonel F. A. Whinyates, late R.A, Captain 


M. F. M. Meiklejohn, V.C., Gordon Highlanders, the 
Reverend Canon Charles Evans of Parkstone, F. C. Carr- 
Gomm, Esq., The Chase, Farnham Royal, Captain B. Smyth, 
Lancashire Fusiliers, author of the History of the XX. 
Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel A. F. Mockler-Ferryman, 
Oxfordshire Light Infantry, E. D. A. Morshead, Esq., 
Winchester College, the late C. W. Holgate, Esq., editor 
of the Winchester Long Rolls, Herbert Chitty, Esq., an 
enthusiastic Wykehamist, T. F. Kirby, Esq., Treasurer to 
Winchester College, the Reverend H. E. Moberley, Rector 
of St. Michael's, Winchester, R. L. Franks, Esq., Clerk to 
Christ's Hospital, A. W. Lockhart, Esq., Treasurer to 
Christ's Hospital, the Reverend E. H. Pearce, author of 
The Annals of Christ's Hospital, W. J. C. Moens, Esq., 
Tweed, Lymington, Charles Oman, Esq., Fellow of All 
Souls, and G. J. Turner, Esq., Lincoln's Inn. To these, 
and others not named, I return my most sincere thanks. 

I should like also to express my thanks to a gentleman, 
who, at Mr. Murray's request, read my manuscript and gave 
me some valuable suggestions. 

It is needless to say that I owe much to previous 
publications. Among those on which I have drawn most 
largely are articles by the late Miss Charlotte M. Yonge, 
in the Christian Remembrancer, October, 1867, and the 
Wykehamist, June, 1896, the privately-printed account of 
Lord Seaton's war services by Captain W. C. Yonge, the 
Reverend W. Leeke's book Lord Seatoris Regiment at 
Waterloo, Cannon's Historical Record of the 20th Regi- 
ment, Sidney's Life of Lord Hill, Moorsom's Historical 
Record of the $2nd Regiment, Napier's History of the 
Peninsular War, The Early Military Life of Sir G. T. 
Napier (for my use of which I have had the special per- 
mission of General William Napier, Sir George's son), Sir 
H. E. Bunbury's Passages in the History of the Great 
War, The Autobiography of Sir Harry Smith (whose 
account of his Brigadier first interested me in my subject), 
W. Henry's Events of a Military Life, Major J. Richard- 
son's Eight Years in Canada, and more particularly the 
History of Canada, by the late Dr. Kingsford. Mr. R. E, 


Kingsford, LL.M., of Toronto, in kindly allowing me to 
make the use I have done of his father's book, sent me 
much valuable information in regard to the history of 
Upper Canada College, which Sir John Colborne founded, 
and of which Mr. Kingsford is a loyal Old Boy. This 
information unfortunately arrived too late for me to make 
as much use of it as I should have liked to do. I can only 
say here that the school has played a distinguished part in 
Canadian history, and at present, after passing through 
great difficulties, due to no fault of its own, appears to be 
entering on a no less distinguished future. 

Miss Christabel Coleridge's memoir, Charlotte Mary 
Yonge, appeared only as this book was in the press. It 
deals greatly with persons who played a part in Lord 
Seaton's life, and the portraits it gives will be interesting 
to all readers of the following pages. 

The index has been, in the main, the work of my sister, 
Miss M. A. Smith. 

It gives me special pleasure to say that this book has 
been read in proof by Miss Julia Moore, niece of Sir John 
Moore. The passionate admiration felt by Colborne for 
Sir John Moore will be evident throughout this Life, and 
it is to me a fact of deep historic interest that the story 
of Lord Seaton's career should have been read after these 
many years by a venerable lady who, still enjoying her 
full intellectual powers, remembers that day of sorrow 
ninety-four years ago which brought to her father's house 
the tragic news of Corunna. 

Although this book appears so long after Lord Seaton's 
death, I trust that an interest may still be awakened in the 
varied career of a great Englishman, whose military genius 
was at least equalled by the beauty and nobility of his 
character. What was thought of him by some of those 
who knew him best is briefly told in the extracts which 
follow : the justification of their words will be found writ 
large in the Life itself. 


31, Endcliffe Rise Road, 

( vi ) 

tl Colborne, a man of singular talents for war." SIR W. C. F. 
NAPIER. History of the Peninsular War. 

" The Master in the art of outposts under whom I learned 
more in six months than in all the rest of my shooting put 
together." SIR HARRY SMITH. Letter to Sir J. Colborne, 
Cape of Good Hope, 2nd March, 1832. 

" No man can point out to me any instance, either in ancient 
or modern history, of a single battalion so influencing the result 
of any great action as the result of the battle of Waterloo was 
influenced by the attack of the 5 2nd Regiment on the Imperial 
Guard." GENERAL SIR J. SHAW KENNEDY. Letter to Captain 
Siborne, i5th May, 1864. 

" Never did any man suffer more patiently than he did [after 
his wound at Ciudad Rodrigo]. But it was Colborne > and that 
is sufficient, there being no suffering in human life which he 
would not endure, if necessary, either for his country or his 
friends. Few men are like him; indeed, except the Duke of 
Wellington, I know no officer in the British army his equal. His 
expansive mind is capable of grasping anything, however difficult 
or abstruse ; his genius in war is so powerful that it overcomes 
all obstacles ; and his splendid talents and long experience have 
gained him the confidence and admiration of the whole army, 
which looks up to Sir John Colborne, should a war take place, 
as the man who will rise conspicuous above all others. The 
Duke of Wellington, from the time Colborne was a lieutenant- 
colonel, always placed the most entire confidence in him, and, 
although only a lieutenant-colonel, employed him constantly in 
every enterprise of difficulty and danger, and never did he fail 
once. He has, with the most intrepid bravery, a coolness of 
head in the very heat of action, which never fails him, and thus 
he penetrates with eagle eye into the enemy's intentions, and 

( vii ) 

is sure to baffle his designs, when least expected. Nothing can 
take him by surprise or flurry him; and I am confident if 
Colborne was suddenly awoke out of his sleep and told he was 
surrounded by an army treble his numbers, it would only have the 
effect of making him, if possible, still more calm and collected, 
and that, if it was possible for mortal man to get out of the 
scrape, he would. His talents for civil government are also 
very great, as he has proved in Guernsey; and the Duke of 
Wellington and Sir George Murray have, in consequence of 
their high opinion of his abilities, sent him as Governor to 
Upper Canada, where he is doing everything that marks the 
steady, upright, fearless and able servant of his king and country, 
and where if any dispute should unfortunately arise between 
England and America, his military skill will be of most essential 
service." SIR GEORGE NAPIER (1828). Early Military Life, 
p. 220. 

" I had a good letter the other day from Lord Seaton. These 
men and their fellows ... I hold to be the foundation 
stones of England. In them is incarnate the sense of duty and 
obedience as a fixed habit, not a sentiment or conviction, as the 
people say, but a true witness of the Omnipotent who wills it 
Autobiography of Sir Harry Smith, II., p. 303. 

" Lord Seaton was certainly the noblest type of a soldier that 
I have known : . . Mildest, kindest, gentlest of human 
beings : clear-headed, calm, vigorous in mind as he was strong 
in body, he was always my idea of a soldier." SIR WILLIAM 
FRASER. Words on Wellington, 1889. 



(Photogravure) Frontispiece 

From the portrait by J. W. Pieneman, painted about 1819, 
in the possession of His Grace the Duke of Wellington, 
at Apsley House. The portrait, which was bought by 
the Great Duke in 1825, seems to have been painted 
by Pieneman as a study for his famous picture of the 
Battle of Waterloo, now in the Rijks Museum, 


From a picture in the possession of the Hon. and Rev. 
Graham Colborne, Dittisham Rectory. 

"SCHOOL," WINCHESTER COLLEGE ... ... ... ... ,, 6 






MRS. COLBORNE (LADY SEATON) (Photogravure) ,, 180 

From a miniature painted in 1813 in the possession of the 
Hon. Lady Montgomery Moore. Colonel Colborne 
had this miniature with him in the last year of the 
Peninsular War, and in his later life it stood constantly 
on his table. 

COLONEL COLBORNE (Photogravure) 196 

From a miniature painted in 1813 in the possession of the 
Hon. Lady Montgomery Moore. 

MAP OF LOWER CANADA ... ... ... ... ... ,, 285 


From a sketch, by an officer, in the possession of the 
Hon. Lady Montgomery Moore. 

GENERAL LORD SEATON (Photogravure) 364 

From a drawing made by George Richmond, R.A., about 
1852, in the possession of the Lord Seaton at Beech- 


And one, our bravest in the years' dim cloud 

A half-forgotten name 

Yet him our memory holds, in grey-haired fame. 
He climbed this height, our mimic wars he knew, 

Till years brought toil more proud, 
And o'er his head war's louder breezes blew. 
Him first the swaying tides of battle bore 
From fight to fight ; he on Corunna's shore 
Strove by the side, bowed by the grave, of Moore ; 
And after, through the midnight murk of war, 
Followed, unflinching, England's rising star, 
Till o'er the Pyrenean crags rang out 

The bugle and the shout 
And when, one moment, seemed the star to pale, 

And heroes' hands almost to fail, 
He clove the ranks at Orthez, plucked the bay 

From out the doubtful fray. 
Last, in the last throw of the iron game 

For stake of Death and Fame, 
He, high of heart as keen of eye, 

Set on for victory, 

And fiercely breasted, stemmed, and overthrew 
The last dark wave that swelled and broke at Waterloo. 


Evening on Hills (Winchester). 



JOHN COLBORNE, the subject of this biography, was 
the son of Samuel Colborne, of Lymington, Hants, 
and Cordelia Anne, daughter of John Garstin, of 
Leragh Castle and Ballykerrin, County Westmeath, 
and his wife Alethea Farrell. Samuel Colborne 
had inherited property through his father from his 
great-uncle, Charles Colborne, of the Knollmans, 
Lyndhurst, and Barnes, Surrey, a Director of the East 
India Company, who died in 1747 at the age of 57. 
This gentleman, whose bust by Rysbraeck, with a 
laudatory Latin epitaph, still adorns the chancel of 
Lymington Church, was in his time a local celebrity. 
He was a burgess of Lymington as early as 1720, 
and in 1745 we find his name among those of the 
Tories of the town, Sir Harry Burrard being the 
leading Whig. Mr. King, in his Old Times 
Revisited (p. 118), records the following traditional 
account of Charles Colborne : 


" He was a tall, portly gentleman, with a long 
flowing wig, who drove a handsome gingerbread- 
coloured carriage with four black Flanders mares. 
He was a great favourite with the populace, whose 
liking for ' panem et circenses ' he gratified by plenty 
of ale and frequent bull-baitings. When his car- 
riage drove through the town, the rabble used to 
press round his coach with shouts for King 

Samuel Colborne and Cordelia Anne Garstin 
were married at Ellingham, Hants, where Miss 
Garstin had been staying, on 2Oth October, 1774. 
Their eldest child, Cordelia Anne, was born in 
1775 ; a son, Samuel, who died as an infant, in 1776 ; 
John, their youngest child, on i6th February, 1778, 
and baptized on 3ist March following. Mr. 
Colborne, after suffering reverses of fortune, died 
in April, 1785. His son was then seven, and in 
after years retained little or no memory of his father. 
On Mr. Colborne's death his widow procured the 
admission of her son John to Christ's Hospital (i5th 
June, 1785) "on the presentation of Deputy Robert 

To John Colborne, therefore, may be applied the 
words in which Samuel Taylor Coleridge, his elder 
contemporary at Christ's Hospital, speaks of his own 
schooldays : 

" I was reared 

In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim 
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars,"* 

and it is interesting to think that Colborne, like 

* Colborne appears never to have been at the school at Hertford, but 
to have joined the London school from the beginning. 


To face p. 2. 

1778-89.] CHRIST'S HOSPITAL. 3 

Charles Lamb, may have seen their gifted school- 
fellow " in the day-spring of his fancies, with hope 
like a fiery column before him, the dark pillar not 
yet turned." In fact, if we would have a picture of 
some years of John Colborne's boyhood, we have 
only to turn to Lamb's essay on " Christ's Hospital 
five and thirty years ago." 

On 6th February, 1787, Mrs. Colborne was 
married at Lymington to the Rev. Thomas Bargus,* 
who became a second father to his stepchildren, and 
received from them in return a lifelong affection. 
Mr. Bargus had been educated at Winchester and 
at Pembroke College, Oxford (B.A., 1773), of 
which he became a Fellow. From 1783 till April, 
1784, he had been curate of Lymington, but he was 
now residing at Winchester, in St. Michael's parish, 
and receiving into his house (probably that now 
called "Witham Close," in Kingsgate Street) 
" commoners " of the school who lived at a distance 
" street commoners," as such boarders in the 
town were called, in contrast to the commoners 
who boarded with the head master. Among them 
had been Lord Warwick's eldest son, Lord Brooke, 
who had died of scarlet fever while under Mr. 
Bargus' care in 1786, but was succeeded by another 
brother a year or two later. t 

Mrs. Bargus brought her second husband a 
daughter, Alethea Henrietta (born 7th June, 1789), 

* Mr. T. F. Kirby tells me that "Bargus*' is a corruption of 
" Baughurst," the name of a village in Hants. 

f Miss C. M. Yonge, writing in the Wykehamist, June, 1896, states 
that Mr. Bargus was a Chaplain of Winchester College. Messrs. 
T. F. Kirby and C. W. Holgate, both well-known Wykehamist 
antiquaries, assure me that this was not the case. 

B 2 

4 BOYHOOD. [Cn. I. 

but died on the i5th March, 1791, and was buried 
at Fareham, Mr. Bargus' birthplace. 

Her only son, John Colborne, was then 13, and 
a scholar of Winchester. He always remembered 
his mother with the most tender love. He described 
her as the most beautiful woman he ever saw, and 
in his extreme old age spoke with tears of the misery 
which her death caused to his elder sister and him- 
self; while Mr. Bargus, in recording her death, 
spoke of her as " my ever-to-be-remembered dearest, 
dear, dear wife." 

About August, 1792, Mr. Bargus found con- 
solation in a second marriage with Miss Mary 
Kingsman, daughter of the Rector of Botley, Hants, 
and by her had a daughter, Frances Mary (Fanny), 
born 1 3th January, 1795, whom John Colborne always 
called " sister." Miss Fanny Bargus became the 
mother of the popular writer, Miss Charlotte M. 

John Colborne's removal from Christ's Hospital 
is recorded in the register of the Hospital under the 
date " 1789, January 29." 

In the same year he entered Winchester School 
as a commoner, there not being sufficient vacancies 
for him to enter as a scholar, though his name had 
been placed on the roll for that purpose. When 
he entered the school, as he wrote in 1845, "Dr. 
Warton was Head-master, Woodhouse Senior 
Tutor, and Dr. Goddard Under-master. Lord Boyle 

* Further particulars of Colborne's family will be found in Burke's 
Peerage under " Seaton," in his Landed Gentry of Ireland under 
"Garstin of Brag-ganstown," in his Landed Gentry of Great Britain 
under " Yonge of Pusilnch," and in Miss Coleridge's book, Charlotte 
M. Yonge. 


and a person by the name of Gleed were the Senior 
Prefects. I occupied a room in the Hall Gallery 
(in the Head-master's house, then called * Com- 
moners '), and afterwards, with the nomination of 
the Warden, succeeded to a vacancy in College." 

He was placed in the senior part of Fourth Book 
(i.e., the lowest form but one in the school) and his 
position was looth out of the 109 boys then in the 
school. In 1790 he was admitted a scholar, and put 
in the 7th Chamber in College. In October this 
year he was 87th, in 1791, 85th, out of in boys. 
In 1792 he was 55th out of 115, in 1793 nth out 
of 109, the sudden rise being accounted for by the 
expulsions which followed the famous " rebellion " 
of 1793, when the boys imprisoned the Warden, the 
Usher and one of the Fellows, and barricaded the 
school. Colborne would tell in after years of the 
part he played in the rebellion, how he held a posi- 
tion against the masters, and hurled down stones 
from the battlements the beginning of his military 
career and love of battles, as his wife would say 
jokingly. More fortunate than many of his school- 
fellows, he escaped expulsion, and remained at 
Winchester till July, 1794, when he was already a 
Prefect. He was now in ist Chamber. 

Miss Yonge writes of Colborne's school-days : 
" He was considered to be dull and backward, 
though a lady who used to play chess with him 
always maintained that he showed the promise of 
something remarkable. However, his spirit and 
ability are said to have been chiefly shown in build- 
ing and defending snow forts."* 

* Wykehamist, June, 1896. The " lady" was Miss Maria Kingsman. 


A writer in the Christian Remembrancer, October, 
1867,* while telling us that Colborne retained through 
life a warm affection for Winchester, remarks on the 
lack of discipline, and especially of religion, that 
prevailed in the school in his day. " Boys then 
prepared their lessons or read newspapers in chapel 
unreproved, and the general lawlessness broke out 
in the first of the two great rebellions still remem- 
bered in the traditions of the school. This renders 
more remarkable the deep sense of religion and 
the purity of mind, manners, and language which 
characterized John Colborne from his earliest to his 
latest years, and which became stamped on the 
memory of all who came in contact with him." 

John Colborne was only 16 when, on loth July, 
1794, he received a commission as Ensign in the 
2Oth Regiment, by the interest of the Earl of 
Warwick.! He left school immediately afterwards. 
He became Lieutenant on loth September, 1795. 
The 20th did not return from the West Indies till 
the summer of 1796. Colborne, who had been 
assiduously devoting his time since he left school 
to the improvement of his education, joined his 
regiment in October, at Exeter, and served with it 
at Lichfield, Liverpool and Preston from 1796 to 
1799. More than six feet high, and singularly hand- 
some, he must have looked every inch a soldier. 

Colborne has told us nothing of his earliest 

* This was also, without doubt, Miss C. M. Yonge. 

f Lord Seaton told Mr. Eyre Matcham, of Newhouse, Salisbury, 
that as a little boy he had been intended for the Church, and that once 
when he came back from school he was told that he was to go into 
the army instead. He added " I was very glad." Mr. Matcham 
remarking "Well, you must be satisfied with the result," he replied 
simply "Yes, I am." 


days in the service, but the following story : " I 
remember when I first joined, my Colonel, when 
speaking to me, pointed to an officer and said: 
* There, sir, that officer was shot through the body, 
and was all the better for it ; there's encouragement 
for you/ " 

In the summer of 1799 the 2Oth Regiment 
received orders to join the expedition to Holland, 
which was to be commanded by H.R.H. the Duke 
of York. It marched from Preston to Canterbury, 
where it was joined by 1,800 excellent soldiers, 
volunteers from the militia regiments of many 
counties. Before leaving Preston, Colborne wrote 
the following letter to his stepfather, who had left 
Winchester in 1798, on being presented by Mr. 
Peachey, afterwards Lord Selsey, to the living of 
Barkway, Herts, a village situated on the chalk hills 
a few miles south-east of Royston : 

" Preston, July 2ist, 1799. 

" Dear Sir, I am this moment ordered to Windsor to 
receive the ist Staffordshire Militia, who have volun- 
teered into our regiment. The 2Oth Regiment marches 
to-morrow, and is destined for the second embarkation. 
Part of the 2nd Stafford and 3rd Lancashire have 
also volunteered for our regiment We shall soon be a 
thousand strong. Owing to the expense I shall be at in 
going to Windsor, and being ordered away at so short a 
notice, has induced me to do a thing not altogether proper. 
I have drawn on you for nve-and-twenty pounds three 
days after sight, payable to Captain Thos. Hipkins. I 
could not do without it, I assure you, for although my 
expences will finally be paid by Government, yet it will 
be some time before I shall receive the money. I shall 
be very much obliged to you if you will accept the bill, 

8 IN HOLLAND. [Cn. I. 

and beg you will deduct the amount from Mr. Lind's 
legacy. ... I am, yours affectionately, 

" Rev. T. Bargus, Barkway." 

From Canterbury the 2Oth proceeded to the camp 
at Barham Downs, where it was divided into two 
battalions, Lieut. Colborne being appointed to the 
ist, which was commanded by Lt.-Col. George 
Smyth. The main part of the intended force, 
amounting to about 15,000 men, left Barham Downs 
on August 8th, embarked on the I3th, and, landing 
at the Helder on the 27th, fought a successful action 
on the same day. On the following day a reinforce- 
ment of 5,000 men under Maj.-Gen. Don arrived. 
This included the I7th, 2Oth and 4oth Regiments 
(two battalions each) and the 63rd Regiment, the 
two battalions of the 2Oth and the 63rd forming a 
brigade. The whole army, until the arrival of the 
Duke of York, was commanded by Sir Ralph Aber- 

Colborne said in later years : " We landed without 
our baggage on a cold, rainy night, and were on the 
bare sands with no food and no wood. General 
Don had a nice little cart with his things in, in which 
he was to sleep, and I recollect envying him when 
he said : ' Now, gentlemen, we halt here ; make 
yourselves comfortable! ' An officer I recollect shot 
a \vildfowl and roasted it himself, and gave us all 


Immediately on landing, the regiment formed in 
position on the sand hills a few miles south of 
Helder Town. It was afterwards moved to Zijp 
Dyke, and posted near the village of Crabbendam. 

1 799.] THE FORCE LANDED. 9 

The following narrative gives Colborne's remini- 
scences of his first campaigning days : " Eight days 
after our landing Colonel Smyth was given a 
separate employment by General Abercromby to 
take a dyke, I think. This was the first time I saw 
Sir John Moore, who rode up to us with General 
Abercromby. Colonel Smyth was exceedingly 
delighted, and I recollect his instruction was, ' March 
straight in, and if you see anything, don't fire, but 
push at them with the bayonet.' We pushed in 
accordingly, but saw no one. We took the dyke and 
a large farmhouse, in which I established myself 
very comfortably, and thought I was going to have 
a good night's rest, when I was suddenly ordered 
out on a picquet to inspect the road. I had not 
been there long when I heard a bugle sound. I was 
wondering what it could mean, when a sergeant 
said, ' Oh, sir, it must be for a truce ! ' However, a 
very smart French Dragoon officer came galloping 
clown with two led horses. He said he had brought 
General Don's horses, that General Don was de- 
tained by the French general, but the latter had 
sent back his horses, and the dragoon wanted a 
receipt for them. So I gave the receipt the first 
time I ever had occasion to write French. The 
fact was that General Don had gone with some 
despatches to the French camp. We were then 
trying to entice Holland back to allegiance to 
the Stadtholder, and we all wore Orange ribbon. 
General Don had several yards of Orange ribbon in 
his pocket, as well as some proclamations, and, being 
an absent-minded man, in taking out the despatches 
he pulled out the Orange ribbon too. They then 

10 IN HOLLAND. [Cn. I. 

searched him and found the proclamations. So the 
French general said, ' I think this is a very 
suspicious thing. You come here with despatches, 
and you have these things to corrupt the soldiers 
with. I shan't let you go until it is enquired into/ 
and he detained him for three or four days. 

" I sent round to my commanding officer, that he 
might receive the story from the Frenchman himself. 
The colonel talked to him a long time and extracted 
some valuable information from him, among other 
things that the road on which I was stationed with 
my picquet was the high road to Alkmaar. On dis- 
covering this the colonel said, ' This is of the utmost 
importance. There must be an intrenchment placed 

" I was to remain with the picquets all night. At 
the grey of the morning the post was attacked, two 
men on my picquet were killed and some wounded. 
This was the first time I had been under fire, for 
at the disembarkation the 2Oth were in reserve. 

"As I expected an attack I had the men on the 
watch. There were some militia on the picquet 
who had only been embodied ten days. As they 
were throwing up a trench I heard one of them say 
to another, ' Well, I'll stand as long as the officer 
stands ! ' and all did behave remarkably well. The 
French soon went back when they found that we 
were prepared for them. Colonel Smyth next 
morning gave me great commendation for having 
first caused a trench to be thrown up in a very good 
position, and for having then repulsed the enemy 
very gallantly and defeated the design of the French 


to illustrate the 

20 face p. 10. 


" Later that day Sir Ralph Abercromby came 
down himself to see all about it, and ask how far 
the enemy came, &c., and I was nervous and em- 
barrassed, thinking it a very formidable thing to 
speak to the Commander-in-Chief : when an old 
Dutch General, Sontag, who had come with him (he 
was known in the camp as General Ney/ on account 
of his long nose), came blustering out, * Now, Sir, 
speak out, and tell the General all you have seen ! ' 
I was so angry with him I felt as if I could have 
knocked him down, but his words made me conquer 
my modesty and speak out directly. 

" On my returning to camp I was surrounded by 
all the officers of the 2Oth, and congratulated on 
having opened the ball. 

" On another occasion I was visiting a distant 
picquet near a dyke when I heard a sound in the 
water which I thought at first was a dog, but on 
going with a sergeant to reconnoitre, we discovered 
a Dutch officer in uniform measuring the depth of 
the dyke with a stick, and we captured him. The 
dyke was about three feet deep in water and three 
in mud. It was thought he was measuring with a 
view to an attack, and the surmise proved to be 
correct, for we were attacked two days afterwards. 
I was much complimented by my commanding officer 
for what I had done. 

" Before we went to Holland several soldiers from 
our regiment, as was then allowed, volunteered into 
the regiments ordered for service. However, a few 
months later we followed. I recollect two soldiers 
coming back to find their old regiment. I was lying 
half asleep on a sand bank, and I heard them coming 

12 IN HOLLAND. [Ca. I. 

along, and then one said to the other, * Here, Tom, 
here's the old drum, I'll be hanged if it isn't/ recog- 
nising the drum of their old regiment, and very sorry 
they had ever left it. 

" The first man I ever saw shot was in Holland. 
There was a breach in the wall and the French were 
opposite. Several officers, and I among them, were 
standing round, when suddenly a shot came and 
carried off the leg of a poor artilleryman sitting on a 
cannon. The poor fellow screamed so, and seemed 
in such agony, that I hoped then I should never have 
my leg carried off." 

On the loth September the French and Dutch 
made a determined attack on the positions occupied 
by the British troops at the head of the Zijp Dyke. 
They gained some advantage on their right, but 
were met with determined resistance on their centre 
and left, especially from the 2Oth Regiment, who 
gallantly repelled the attack of their centre column 
on the entrenchments raised upon the dyke at 
Crabbendam. They were eventually driven back 
with a loss of nearly 1,000 men. 

This affair (Schagen Brug) was John Colborne's 
first battle. He himself was among the wounded, as 
were, in his own battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Smyth, Major Ross (afterwards " Ross of Bladens- 
burg "), Captain Powlett, and Lieutenants DesVceux 
and Hamilton. 

The following letters were sent home by Colborne 
after the battle : yj e y [- ? vii e ], 

" Zephyr. 

" Dear Sir, I have only time to say we were yesterday 
attacked by a very large force. Our regiment suffered 


particularly. I am wounded in the head, but not severely. 
Three thousand of the enemy were killed and wounded. 
I am, yours affectionately, 

"Rev. T. Bargus, Barkway." 

"Heelder, I3th September. 

" My dear Delia, Of course you have heard of the 
action before this. I should have written to you immedi- 
ately after it, but was so situated then, I could get but 
one sheet of paper before the packet sailed, which I sent 
to Mr. Bargus. I was wounded in the head, and feel no 
inconvenience, except from the violence of the blow and 
the sudden compression, which occasioned violent pains in 
the head. I have been bled twice, and find myself greatly 

"The ist Battalion have had the advanced post ever 
since we have been [here]. On the loth the Dutch and 
French made an attack on the whole line. They attacked 
the right and left first, but only as a diversion, and then 
advanced with nearly their whole force against the ist 
Battalion of the 2Oth. They came down in three large 
columns with their riflemen in front, who soon spread them- 
selves around us. The grenadiers of our regiment de- 
fended an outpost three hours, till all our ammunition was 
expended. We were then obliged to retire, as a company 
of the battalion had given way, placed on our right at a 
bridge. Neither the artillery nor our own men had any 
ammunition remaining. The enemy crossed the bridge. 
We then charged them with the 2nd Battalion, who came 
to our assistance, and drove them over the bridge. We 
charged twice in a village which they had taken. They 
then retired, leaving heaps of dead and wounded behind. 
Our regiment behaved uncommonly well. The first [bat- 
talion] had but six hundred men, as we left part of the 
regiment at the Texel Island. Our army is very much 

14 W HOLLAND. [Cn. I. 

scattered No regiment but the 2nd Battalion came to 
our assistance till the action was over. It lasted from four 
till eleven [a.m.]. I hope to join the regiment in two or 
three days again. I am, yours affectionately, 

" Miss Colborne." 

" Heelder, 

" 1 3th September. 

"Dear Sir, Since we have been here the 1st Battalion 
of the 2Oth have had the honour of occupying the advanced 
post of the whole army, consequently we have been but 
a few yards from the enemy for this last fortnight Our 
picquets have had frequent skirmishes ; but on the loth 
September the enemy made an attack on the whole line, 
advancing on the right and left as a diversion, but making 
their real attack on our battalion. Three large columns 
advanced on us in very good order with riflemen in front, 
who spread themselves on all sides in a few minutes, and 
came within eight or nine yards, picking out the officers to 
fire at. The grenadiers were advanced about a quarter of 
a mile in front of the battalion and defended the post until 
all their ammunition was expended, firing more than a 
hundred rounds. At this time a company in our rear, 
defending a bridge, was obliged to retire, the officer of the 
artillery being wounded and having no ammunition remain- 
ing ; we then retreated with difficulty. The enemy passed 
the bridge and pressed on us. Part of the 1st and 2nd 
Battalions charged and drove them back ; we then charged 
them twice in a village which they had taken ; they re- 
treated immediately, leaving heaps of dead and wounded 
on the field. Our army being so much scattered no regi- 
ment could come to our assistance till the enemy had 
retired. The action began between four and five, and 
ended about twelve. Sir Ralf was very much pleased with 
the conduct of the regiment ; indeed, it was impossible for 


them to behave better. Six officers of the 1st Battalion 
were wounded out of eighteen who were engaged. The 
wounded are removed to this place. I hope in a few days 
to join the regiment again. The bullet took me on the'' 
side of my head just above the temple, but fortunately I 
had my hat on sideways, which prevented the ball from 
entering the skull ; there is no fracture. I have been bled 
twice and find myself greatly relieved. Remember me to 
Mrs. B. and the children. 

" The Rev. T. Bargus, 
" Barkway, near Royston, Hertfordshire." 

Colborne referred to the action in later years as 
follows : 

" During the course of the battle General Aber- 
cromby came galloping among our artillery, exclaim- 
ing, ' Now fire one more round at them.' The 
officer in command said, ' We have no ammunition 
left.' ' The first time I have ever seen the artillery 
ill served/ said the General, in vexation, and then, 
turning to the 2Oth, ' Now are there not forty or fifty 
of you who will charge with me into the village and 
drive the French back ? " Immediately the whole 
regiment rushed forward, and a good many militia 
with them, who had only just come from England 
and had not had time even to change their militia 
uniforms. Sir Ralph, recognising this, called out, 
' Come along ! You are as safe here as if you were 
in Norfolk!' 

" General Hamilton lost his leg in the battle his 
first battle and my first battle, and so did Sir Charles 
DesVceux. Hamilton did not care a bit about it, 
but Sir Charles was a very different person, of a low, 
nervous temperament. I recollect his saying, ' I 

1 6 IN HOLLAND. [Cn. I. 

have lost my leg, and on my birthday, too ! ' 
Hamilton was going soon after to Yorkshire to see 
a person very famous for making wooden legs, and 
on his way he met with a young lady with whom he 
fell in love. She turned out to have a large fortune, 
and he married her; so he found a wife and a 
wooden leg in one journey. 

" My own wound was caused by a bullet which 
grazed my head. I was taken to the house of a 
priest, who treated me very kindly. The doctors 
thought it a bad wound, but after being laid up for 
three weeks or a month, and fed on rice, I joined 
again ; the wound was, however, still open." 

In the priest's house Colborne and his host, says 
Miss C. M. Yonge, had no common language save 
Latin, " and this (as he used to tell) convinced him 
of the value of the classical studies which he had 
hitherto rather despised, and from that time, through 
all his stirring life, he set himself steadily to self- 
improvement. He managed to acquire French, 
Italian, and Spanish, and even filled quires of paper 
with exercises of strokes to improve his handwriting." 

In other respects, the time for reflection caused by 
the wound seems to have had a lasting influence on 
Colborne's character. In the early days of his ser- 
vice he was, as he used to say, a " wild fellow," but 
the wound " sobered him." From this time onwards 
he was conspicuous for his extreme abstemiousness, 
and for his refusal to follow the fashionable habit of 
swearing. " I determined," he said, " to abjure it 

During the time that Colborne was laid up with 
his wound, the Duke of York landed at the Helder 


(i3th September) with three brigades of British 
troops, and was followed by 17,000 Russian 
auxiliaries. Many of the Russian soldiers wore 
medals, which was astonishing to their British allies, 
as at that time no British medals were conferred on 
private soldiers. 

The allied army attacked the enemy at Petten on 
iQth September, but without success, owing to the 
inconsiderate valour of the Russians, and on the 
2nd October made another attack on the position 
occupied by the French and Dutch troops between 
Bergen and Egmont op Zee. 

Colborne's presence in this action was an early 
proof of his courage and determination. It was only 
three weeks since he had received his wound in the 
head, and he had tasted nothing but rice since, but 
though his wound was by no means cured, and his 
physicians were afraid of the consequences of any 
exertion, he had determined on joining his regiment 
before the impending battle, and nothing could 
detain him. He desired to go in a commissariat 
waggon, but the commissary would not permit this, 
and the dispute grew so violent that they were both 
taken before Lieutenant- Colonel Smyth, of the 2oth, 
who was then ill from wounds received on loth Sep- 
tember. Colborne, in a violent passion, exclaimed 
to the commissary, " You actually think a bag of 
biscuits of more value than a British officer ! " at 
which the Colonel laughed heartily, but said, 
" Remember, Colborne, this won't do." So, being 
refused the commissariat waggon, he had to do the 
twenty miles on foot. On the way he met Colonel 
MacDonald, who said, " Well, Colborne, are you for 

1 8 IN HOLLAND. [Cn. I. 

England? " " No," he replied, " I was wounded at 
Schagen Brug, and am on my way to join my regi- 
ment before the battle 1 " Colonel MacDonald ex- 
pressed his delight at the spirit shown by the young 
lieutenant, and when he reached his regiment he was 
quite repaid for his long walk by the enthusiasm 
with which he was received by his brother officers. 

During the early part of the action, the 2Oth (who 
were in Pulteney's column) were not engaged, but 
afterwards deployed and advanced among the sand 
hills, where they showed great gallantry in a fierce 
musketry battle lasting till nightfall, in which they 
had fifty soldiers killed and wounded. The regiment 
still bears " Egmont op Zee " on its regimental 

Colborne told a story of this battle : " At that time 
we had so little baggage, and there was so much 
difficulty in getting things, that we all wore our large 
cloaks strapped on to us. I had mine slung across 
my shoulders. I was standing with an old Scotch 
officer, a friend of mine, Captain Walker of the 2Oth, 
as the enemy were firing from a hill opposite to us, 
when a shot hit me, at least on the cloak, and when I 
took it off I found it had gone through and through 
every fold. Captain Walker said, ' Ah ! I see they 
are determined to have you yet.' Captain Powlett, 
of the 2Oth, received a wound in his head, and 
putting up his hand, exclaimed, ' I'm done for! ' on 
which I took the command of the company. 

"At this battle a militia officer named Musket, a 
very fierce-looking man, his face covered with black 
whiskers, &c., took fright almost at the first shot, set 
spurs to his horse, galloped for his life to the Helder, 


embarked for England, and was never afterwards 
heard of. Innumerable were the jokes and epigrams 
made in the army on this occasion. Colonel Mac- 
Donald declared that the captain of the ship, seeing 
an officer arrive at full gallop, thought he was the 
bearer of despatches, and sent a boat off for him. 

" Cunningham, afterwards General Cunningham, 
was engaged to be married just before embarking 
for the campaign. At Egmont op Zee he was 
wounded, and dreadfully disfigured in the face. So, 
on his return, he offered to release the lady from her 
engagement, saying that he was not at all the same 
person as the man to whom she had engaged herself. 
However, she would not hear of it, and they were 
married immediately." 

The result of the Battle of Egmont op Zee (or 
Alkmaar, or Bergen), in which the British loss 
amounted to 1,200 men, was the capture of Alkmaar 
and the retreat of the enemy on his last strong posi- 
tion at Beverwyk. But the enemy, on 6th October, 
again opposed the advance of the allies, and an in- 
decisive battle took place near Castricum, or Egmont 
Binnen, in which the British lost 1,400 men among 
the regiments which suffered most being the two 
battalions of the 2Oth. As the Dutch did not appa- 
rently reciprocate our desire that they should abandon 
their French friends and return to the allegiance of 
the House of Orange, the Duke of York again 
retired beyond the Zijp, and in consequence of a 
capitulation signed at Alkmaar on i8th October the 
allies re-embarked unmolested before the end of 
October, after restoring 8,000 prisoners. Though 
the land war in Holland had thus proved a failure, 


we had obtained possession of the Dutch fleet and 
the island of Surinam, which had surrendered to our 
arms on 2Oth August. 

John Colborne had been twice shot through the 
cap in the course of this campaign. On the return 
of the expedition to England, as he was sitting in a 
coffee-house at Yarmouth, he heard two officers say 
to each other. " Impossible ! " as they examined the 
bullet-holes at a little distance. They indeed testi- 
fied to a narrow escape. 


MINORCA AND EGYPT, 1800-1801. 

COLBORNE thought himself ill-used at not receiving 
promotion for his services in Holland, merit in those 
days, as he held, being subordinated to interest. He 
called on the military secretary to the Commander- 
in-Chief to represent his case. " I was stammering, 
and feeling rather nervous, when he said, ' Come, Sir, 
speak up ; my time is precious/ which so touched me 
up that I began to speak quite fluently and when 
he asked me ' How long have you been in the army? ' 
it put me quite in a rage, and nothing makes a man 
speak so well as that. So I said, ' How long have 
I been in the army? That's nothing to the purpose ; 
look at that letter, and that.' So then he said, ' Yes, 
Sir, yes, it is a very hard case ; put in on paper, and 
I will give it to the Commander-in-Chief.' He was 
sitting up at a desk like a clerk, and I recollect 
striking the desk with a little twig I had in my hand 
and saying, ' I do think it a confoundedly hard case, 
to use no other terms.' ' The visit seems to have 
been not without effect, as on I2th January, Col- 
borne, not yet 21, became brevet-captain. 

Early in 1800 the 2Oth Regiment proceeded to 
Ireland and was stationed at Cork, where its num- 
bers were increased by volunteers from several corps 
of Irish militia. 

22 IN MINORCA. [Cn. II. 

In June the 2Oth was despatched with a small 
expedition against Belle Isle. According to Miss 
Yonge* Colborne used to tell the story that as he 
embarked at Cork an old Irish woman blessed him 
v/ith the prophecy that he would come back com- 
mander-in-chief, a prophecy literally fulfilled fifty- 
five years later. The attack on Belle Isle having 
been abandoned, the troops were landed on 
the little isle of Houat, where for a week they had 
nothing to do but to gallop about on the rough 
ponies with which the island abounded. The regi- 
ment then proceeded to the island of Minorca, where 
it remained ten months. 

The following letter was written soon after the 
disembarkation to his elder sister, Miss Colborne : 

" Fort George, 

" loth September, 1800. 

" Dear Delia, Have you not been daily expecting a 
large quantity of Genoa velvet? I am sorry to say the 
velvet must now be changed into Minorca honey. I am 
very much disappointed. After our expectations had been 
raised with the idea of co-operating with the Austrian 
army, we find ourselves garrison troops at Minorca, with 
our light baggage only. My wardrobe consists of four 
shirts, as many stockings, and other necessaries in propor- 
tion very agreeable in a hot climate. Our original 
destination was Genoa but through the late arrival of 
Sir Ralph Abercrombie and the treachery of Melas' armyt 
the grand expedition which has covered the seas for so 
long a time was rendered useless. Until / am at the head 
of affairs these expeditions never will be properly 

* Wykehamist, June, 1896. 
f Melas was defeated by Napoleon at Marengo, I4th June, 1800. 


" The battalions of the 2Oth, from the time of their enter- 
ing the harbour of Mahon, voluntarily remained on board, 
hoping there would still be some expedition going on. 
Two days before Sir Ralph sailed we were ordered to 
disembark, as he had received orders from England to 
leave behind those regiments which received militia. The 
men, as much disappointed as their officers, and thinking 
the expedition might be going out of Europe, volunteered 
for general service. The Commander-in-Chief could not 
accept their services without an order from England.* 

" I am quartered at Fort George (formerly Fort St. 
Philip), remarkable for the siege in 1782. I send this by 
the ' Guillaume Tell/ one of the Nile fleet that escaped in 
Nelson's action. If you can steal a few old newspapers 
dated since the latter end of May (for I have not perused 
a paper from the time I left Sweet Ireland), send them 
to me, and I shall be yours for ever. You must learn 
Italian immediately, for I speak nothing but the ' bella 
lingua Toscana.' I mean to make the Grand Tour as soon 
as the Governor and the dollars will permit. By the way, 
I must tell you that we are well paid in this island, and, 
what is more, I save money for the first time in my life. 
The sun has already made some impression on me, inas- 
much as that I am getting very thin and, of course, genteel. 
The word 'thin' reminds me of the garrison of Malta, 
who have entered the harbour this morning, starved out of 
the fortification of Valetta.t 

" As I am not to be actively employed, I prefer this place 
to England I can live on my pay comfortably, I have 
good rooms, and I have an opportunity now of spending 
(except when on duty) the greater part of the day in pri- 
vate. I assure you I am sensible of the number of days 
that I have lost, and am determined now, in a manner, to 
regain them. I am now astonished, on reflection, how I 

* Militia-men were received in regiments of the line with the 
stipulation that they should not be employed out of Europe. 

f Malta surrendered to the British forces early in September, 1800, 
after an investment of nearly two years. 

24 IN MINORCA. [Cn. II. 

could have thrown away so much good time, and as activity 
of mind gives life to the most dreary desert, so I am willing 
to convert this dull fortress into a social world ; for the 
constant society of redcoats to a military man is no society. 
Female society we have none. The Minorca ladies are 
some of them pretty, but disfigure themselves much by 
their dress, wearing their hair down to their feet twisted 
in the form of a cow's tail, a close cap, and formidable 
stays with a peak as long as Teneriffe. A strange custom 
and barbarous, the parents have, of sending their daughters 
that are pretty to a nunnery the ' uglies ' are suffered to 
enjoy the pomps and vanities. The military are obliged 
to behave very reverently to the friars, and pay the great- 
est respect to the religions of the country. There are 
about nine monasteries and two nunneries in the island 
But one nun has been stolen from the convents since the 
arrival of the British. This holy sister was carried off by 
an officer of the 42nd Regiment, but was obliged to be 
sent back in faded splendour wan. 

" Fancy, how sublime, romantic, and picturesque, to see 
and hear the happy swains playing under the windows of 
their charming brunettes. This is the mode of making 
love. They are only allowed to see the fair for the first 
two years at the window, except at Mass. The third year 
they are admitted to kiss the hand, and the fourth, if agree- 
able to the parties, the courtship ends. As I think a 
month's attendance on these occasions is quite sufficient, I 
have no chance of marrying here. The society you would 
like, I have no doubt, and, when tired, you would have an 
opportunity of entering a very elegant nunnery, which is 
a place I would recommend to you if you would promise 
not to run away and bring disgrace on the sisterhood. I 
am, yours affectionately, 


"Miss Colborne, Salton." 

At Minorca Colborne did indeed set himself as 
he hinted to " redeem the time." " I used to ride 


at four o'clock every morning several miles to a man 
who taught me French, Italian and drawing. I 
used to translate Latin into Italian. I used to ride 
back again by ten, and tie up my horse in the town 
and be in time for parade. My time in Minorca 
was a very happy one." He adds one little trait: 
" We could get no vegetables in Minorca except 
pumpkins, and we used to have pies made of them, 
mashing them with pepper." 

Meanwhile Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Aber- 
cromby had proceeded with a British force to Egypt 
to force the French "Army of the East" to 
evacuate that country. A landing was effected on 
the 8th March, and three engagements favourable 
to British arms followed; but on the 2ist March 
Sir Ralph Abercromby was mortally wounded and 
the command devolved on Lieutenant-General. 
Hutchinson. Hutchinson advanced up the country 
to attack Cairo. Reinforcements were ordered to 
join the army in Egypt, and on the 24th June the 
20th Regiment embarked from Minorca, and landing 
in Aboukir Bay on 24th July, took post on the east 
side of Alexandria. Lieutenant-General Hutchin- 
son, having returned from Cairo, whose garrison had 
capitulated on 27th June, resolved to press the siege 
of Alexandria with vigour. This was the situation 
when Colborne wrote the following letter to his step- 
father : 

" Camp before Alexandria, 

" ;th August, 1 80 1. 

" Dear Sir, We arrived in the Bay of Aboukir the 
1 7th of July, after a short passage from Minorca, and are 
now encamped about five miles from Alexandria on a 

26 IN EGYPT. [Cn. II. 

sandy desert, the sea on our right and a large lake on our 
left, which has been cut so as to inundate a vast extent of 
country. I see Pompey's pillar at a distance, and probably 
in a few days shall have an opportunity of inspecting it 
nearer, as the attack is to be made on Menou's strong 
position before the town, as soon as the French that capitu- 
lated at Cairo are embarked. They consist of 9,000 
effective Frenchmen, 4,000 auxiliaries, Greeks, Copts, 
&c, and 63 pieces of cannon. General Hutchinson is 
thought to have acted politically in getting so large a force 
out of the country without fighting his forces consisting 
but of 5,000 English, the rest being Turks, who are any- 
thing but soldiers, a mere undisciplined rabble, not to be 
depended on. General Coote commands the division 
before Alexandria, which has remained inactive since the 
2 ist March. There is now an immense army here, in 
general healthy, sore eyes being the chief complaint, which 
occasions frequently loss of sight for a month or six weeks. 
There are but few instances of men going blind entirely. 
I prefer the climate to Minorca. Here you have a fine, 
steady breeze continually blowing from the north-west ; 
there, during three months, not a breath of wind can be 
perceived. We have only to dread the Sirrock, or hot 
southerly wind, which has blown but twice since the arrival 
of the army. Sir Ralph was told by the Consul, Baldwin, 
that no water could be found, but fortunately we get water 
by digging under any palm tree, of which there are plenty 
indeed, Julius Caesar has shown us the way, who says 
he found * copia dulcis aquae ' by digging near the sea. 
The leaves of the palm afford us shelter we make com- 
fortable huts from them which enable us to enjoy the 
breeze, at the same time screening us from the burning 
sun. Yours affectionately, 

" J. C. 
"The Rev. T. Bargus, Barkway." 

In after days Colborne told a story of the siege of 
Alexandria. " As I and another officer were walk- 


ing round the walls, a French officer called out to 
us from the rampart and told us there was a friend 
of his whom we had taken prisoner to whom he 
wished to send a letter and some money. He then 
threw the letter and a purse over to us. I thought 
it showed great confidence in English officers. I 
inquired about the prisoner, who had been wounded, 
and sent him the money. 53 

Before the date of the conclusion of the following 
letter Alexandria had fallen. 

" Camp near Alexandria, 

" 2Qth August. 

"Dear Sir, The army remained inactive till the i/th 
August, when General Coote sailed up the Lake Mareotis 
with 4,000 men, and landed without opposition near Mara- 
bou, westward of Alexandria. The same day General 
Hutchinson forced the enemy from a strong position on 
the east side. Coote advanced on the 2ist three miles; 
the enemy retired in great confusion, leaving us seven 
pieces of cannon. We encamped within three quarters 
of a mile of Alexandria. Our camp was annoyed by 
shells from the French batteries previous to our attacking 
another of their positions on the night of the 2/th [25th?] 
August, which was carried without any loss. The same 
night they endeavoured to make our picquets retire by 
firing at us about two hours. Next morning General 
Menou requested a cessation of hostilities in order to 
arrange the terms of capitulation. 

" 2nd September. Our grenadiers this day marched into 
the principal forts of the enemy, agreeable to the Articles 
of Capitulation, which are much the same as those of Cairo. 
Thus has ended the Egyptian expedition, in which neither 
French or English generals have displayed great military 
talents. However, those who read the elegant letters of 
Hutchinson will be persuaded that he is one of the greatest 
generals of the age. 

28 IN EGYPT. [Cn. If. 

" That part of the army which arrived at the commence- 
ment of the affair have suffered unexampled hardships 
with cheerfulness, and on every occasion shown courage 
and discipline. Since the death of Sir Ralph,* Fortune 
has decidedly been Hutchinson's greatest friend in every 
instance. The French generals have either behaved 
treacherously or injudiciously. We are not permitted to 
enter Alexandria yet. The country immediately about us 
is much improved by the junction of the lakes Maadie and 
Mareotis,t lately stinking marshes. By the heaps of ruins, 
catacombs and baths (which, of course, are called Cleo- 
patra's), it appears Alexandria extended as far as our en- 
campment formerly. 

" Sir Sydney Smith is now off the Old Harbour, about to 
take possession of a Venetian 64 and two frigates, 
' L'Egyptienne ' and ' La Justice/ which are now in a fine 
bason near the town ; the entrance is rendered difficult by 
shallows. The New Harbour is on the east side of the 
town and separated from the Old by a presqu'isle, at the 
end of which is Pharos. The harbourage is bad, and ships 
are exposed to the northerly winds. Pompey's Pillar rises 
majestically from amidst the sand hills, about half a mile 
from the town, composed of three pieces of granite, the 
base, shaft and capital. They say it is 94 feet high. I 
have not measured it. I have more than once trembled 
lest this vast work, which has so long withstood time, 
should be demolished or injured by the shot from our 
gunboats, whose fire was directed at a redoubt very near 
it. I am happy to find the balls have paid_ respect to this 
elegant column. General Coote made a regimental band 
play ' God Save the King ' round it this morning. There 
appears no historical proof why it should be called Pom- 
pey's Pillar, Damietta being the place where he fell. M. 
Sonnini is anxious it should be called hereafter Buona- 
parte's Pillar, or the Column of the French Republic, and 
says, ' Posterity will recollect that this was the headquarters 

* On the 28th March preceding, 
f 1 2th and I3th April. 

i8oi.] ALEXANDRIA. 29 

from whence Buonaparte issued orders for the escalade, 
and it is not easy to determine whether of the two heroes, 
the Founder or Restorer, will excite most admiration in 
their eyes.' Were you to see the wretches whom the 
Restorer fought against, and the old towers that were 
taken by escalade, the point would easily be determined in 
your own mind. Alexandria, at that time, was only sur- 
rounded by the old walls erected by the Arabs on their 
invasion. This enclosure forms modern Alexandria. The 
Grand Vizier's army is composed of the most despicable 
rabble ever collected together. The annihilation of 
Turkey is at no great distance ; not even a Belisarius 
would save this sinking State. These people, the proudest 
in the world without any reason, now condescend to shake 
an Englishman cordially by the hand and pass him with 
the greatest respect, repeating frequently, ' Buono Inglese.' 
As for Buonaparte, they have curtailed his name, and now 
know him by no other than ' Parte.' The Indian army is 
at Rosetta they remain in Egypt for the present. So 
pleasant is the climate to me that should no other expedi- 
tion take place I would rather remain also. The oph- 
thalmia is much in the army, fevers are very common also., 
I never enjoyed better health, having had no complaint 
since my arrival. I intend going to Rosetta to-morrow on 
my way to the Pyramids. 

" It is most probable that we shall perform quarantine 
at Gozo, a small isle near Malta. 

" The climate in whose praise I have been so lavish has 
carried off in a few hours my most intimate friend, a 
young man respected by the whole regiment. Yours 
affectionately and sincerely, 

"J. C." 

The 20th was detained in Egypt for two months 

" Camp near Alexandria, 

" 5th November, 1801. 

" Dear Sir, We have been encamped since September 

30 IN EGYPT. [Cn. II. 

on very unpleasant ground near Pompey's Pillar. The 
dust, in which there is a mixture of lime, annoys us per- 
petually. At present there are 240 men blind in the bat- 
talion. We expect to sail in a few days Malta, it is sup- 
posed, will be our winter quarters. Five thousand men 
remain here, exclusive of the Indian army they consist of 
the Irish regiments and the Foreign Brigade. Alexandria 
is a most villainous town Cleopatra's Needles and a few 
baths are the only antiquities to be seen in this once splen- 
did city, except some granite pillars which you frequently 
see adorning a mud-house. 

" I have been to Rosetta.* The streets are similar to 
those of Alexandria, but the eye is refreshed by the green 
fields of the Delta and the Nile running rapidly by them. 
From Rosetta we proceeded to Cairo. The Nile was at 
its height. It does not inundate the whole country like a 
sea, as travellers have represented, but seems perfectly 
under the control of the husbandmen, who, by canals and 
wheels, admit what quantity of water they think proper 
into their fields. We made our headquarters at Gizeh, a 
village where Murat Bey formerly resided, situated oppo- 
site Cairo on the left bank of the Nile. We set out from 
this place at 10 o'clock p.m., and managed to be on the 
top of one of the Pyramids before sunrise. 

" Cairo is a large, stinking, ill-built town. The streets 
are so exceedingly narrow that it requires some exertion to 
pass through the groups of Arabs, Mamaloucs and Turks, 
mules and loaded animals, which latter take up the whole 

* " While we were at Rosetta we met one or two parties and with 
one of them was an old brother officer of the 2Oth, Captain Colborne. 
He was very much teased with the musquitos one night when many of 
us were lying down to rest in a large room at one of the inns at Rosetta : 
he thought he would hit upon a plan to give the musquitos the slip, 
thinking they were on the walls of the room ; he therefore shifted 
his bed to the middle of the room, and much to our amusement the 
musquitos attacked him worse than ever, and I believe few of us had 
any rest that night ; we tried to smoke them out, but all would not do, 
and we arose in the morning very little refreshed." Lieut.-Col. Chas. 
Steevens, Reminiscences of my Military Life, p. 31. 

i8oi.] NEWS OF PEACE. 31 

breadth of the street The only decent part to be seen is 
the Place d'Eau, a large square where Menou has built a 
house a la Turque. 

" There happened a few days since a most horrid 
assassination, which now makes every Englishman ashamed 
to have acted with such detestable allies. The Mamalouc 
Beys, who have materially assisted in expelling the French, 
and whom the Commander-in-Chief promised to protect on 
the arrival of the army in Egypt, were invited by the 
Pacha to a magnificent breakfast. He afterwards per- 
suaded seven of them to enter his boat on pretence of 
calling on Lord Cavan, the commandant of Alexandria. 
In a few minutes he changed his boat and went on shore, 
pretending a despatch had arrived from the Grand Vizier. 
Another boat came alongside of that which the Beys were 
in, filled with armed soldiers, and massacred Osman Bey 
and four others. General Hutchinson has behaved with 
spirit, and has acted like a soldier, if not as a politician.* 
The affair now detains us here. 

" The news of Peace has just reached us, but not 
officially.! Yours affectionately, 

" J. C." 

At the moment of the fall of Alexandria General 
Baird had arrived with an Indian army in fine order, 
but found nothing for him to do. Colborne had 
some idea of joining him on his return to India, but 
abandoned the intention. He said afterwards, " It 
would have made a great change in my fortunes if 
I had gone." 

Colborne's love of knowledge often led him into 

* Colborne told the story in 1847. " General Hutchinson went to 
the Pacha's tent and upbraided him with it, and he said it was not 
his doing. * I had received my orders what could I do ? ' We 
buried them with military honours, and it was a most impressive 

f The " Lodi " brig carrying the official intimation entered Alex- 
andria on November i5th. 


rash escapades. One of these seems to have occu- 
pied his last days in Egypt. " I rode a very foolish 
expedition by myself, day and night, all through the 
Turkish camps, and when I got back to Alexandria 
I found the army was to sail next day." 

( 33 ) 


MALTA, 1802-1805. 

FROM Egypt the 2Oth was sent to Malta (disembark- 
ing on Qth December), which island, according to 
the terms of the Peace of Amiens, we were then 
to evacuate. However, owing to the ambiguous 
conduct of Bonaparte, the British Government 
determined to retain the island, and war soon broke 
out afresh. Colborne had not been long in Malta 
when, taking advantage of the interval of peace, he 
obtained leave to spend some months in an adven- 
turous tour through Sicily and Calabria, and thus 
acquired a knowledge of those countries which was 
afterwards of much use. He found some brother 
officers ready to accompany him, among them 
Robert Ross, afterwards the victor of Bladensburg, 
and the Hon. William Lumley. One night at an inn, 
as Colborne used to relate, the people came round 
and began firing into the windows at them. He 
knew no reason, unless it was that one of his com- 
panions had given some offence in the town during 
their visit. On another occasion they lost their way 
late one night and got into a river, after which they 
were shown to a gentleman's house, who received 
them very kindly and entertained them for several 
days. Strange to say, four years later, this casual 


34 IN MALTA. [Cn. III. 

acquaintance was renewed, the British force being 
encamped, after the battle of Maida, in the neigh- 
bourhood of this gentleman's house. Some other 
incidents of the tour we may give in Colborne's own 
words : 

" In Sicily a tailor once sent in a bill about four 
times as much as it should have been, so we agreed 
to pay each 3 and present it on the points of our 
swords. The tailor, thus treated, would not take the 
money, so we went on presenting it till he was driven 
into a corner, and every time the sword touched him, 
screamed out * O Signori ! ' At last he snatched the 
money from each of the swords and ran off as hard as 
he could. Afterwards, on our tour, whenever they 
brought us a bill which we thought too much, Ross, 
a very funny fellow, always said, ' I think we must 
prick this man.' 

" None of us could speak Italian, but we had an 
Italian grammar with us, and we had learnt a list of 
adjectives and expletives. So at one place where 
the man charged too much we went on calling him 
one term of abuse after another, the man quite sur- 
prised where we could have got them all, till we came 
to ' Boja ' (' hangman J ), which made him very angry. 
Afterwards, when we were coming back, we stopped 
a night at the same place and called at the inn. The 
man looked out, recognized us, and shouting, ' lo 
non sono Boja' slammed the door in our faces." 

" Malta, 

"20th April, 1802. 

"Dear Sir, I am lately returned from Sicily. The 
description of it by Brydone is poetry. I was much disap- 
pointed in this renowned island We landed at Syracuse, 

1802.] TOUR IN ITALY. 35 

a miserable hole, and then proceeded to Catania, slept at 
a village on the mountain, and ascended to the crater early 
in the morning, a dangerous experiment at this time of the 
year. The effect of the cold we did not recover [from] for 
many hours. 

" Messina was our next stage, from which place we 
crossed to the town of Scylla. The current is amazingly 
rapid, and our Messinese mariners were as much frightened 
at it as their forefathers could have been at Scylla and 

" We experienced many difficulties in passing through 
Calabria to Naples the greatest obstacles were rivers 
swollen by the rains. I found my swimming of use to me. 
The Calabrian gentlemen were very polite, and we made 
it an invariable rule to enter the best house in the town 
[where] we halted. We travelled in uniform, and being 
English officers, it was a sufficient introduction to the in- 
habitants. Having seen Vesuvius, Naples and all the 
lions, we returned by Palermo, where we saw his Sicilian 
majesty, whose chief employment is making butter. 
Although his amusements are so innocent, yet he is a 
detested tyrant It is a most miserable government that 
these Neapolitans and Sicilians live under, and they are 
such wretches a -principio that they deserve no better. 

" The second battalion is about to be reduced. I stand 
seemingly, with or without a company. On the battalions 
being consolidated we shall have about 1,000 men for 
general sendee. We evacuate this island in two months, 
and then to the West Indies it is reported we go. Eighty 
of our men are sent home blind, who I think will never 
recover their sight Yours affectionately, 


"2gth April, 1802. 

" Dear Delia, I have heard nothing of you for an age. 
You either do not pay the inland postage or never write. 
One letter only have I received from you in Egypt, 

C 2 

36 IN MALTA. [Cn. III. 

although I have expended a quire of paper in writing to 
you. We expect to evacuate Malta in a month. It is 
reported that we are destined for the West Indies. If 
that be really our destination, you may expect me to return 
in the course of three or four years, not with the fat cheeks 
that you were wont to see, but emaciated, scorched and 
shrivelled beneath the burning zone. You will be unable 
to trace my unmeaning features. 

" Garstin, of the 2Oth Regiment, your coz, has been here 
a long time sick. I recollect you once mentioned that he 
was a handsome man, from which speech I must infer that 
either your eyes deceived you or that the poor animal is 
miserably fallen away. 

' Meagre and very rueful were his looks, 
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones. 
Famine is in his cheeks.' 

(Otway, hem!) * 

" I am not exactly certain whether it is sharp misery 
that has made the man such an object, but at present 1 
am at a loss whether to compare him to the Apothecary in 
Caius Marius, or Lismahago.t He was very attentive 
and polite to me in Egypt 

" Charles Greville passed this place on his way to 
England. He is not a great coxcomb, only the poor man 
can't open his mouth. ' Will you dine with me to-day, 
Greville ? ' Three times was I obliged to repeat the ques- 
tion before I could discover whether he said ' yes ' or 
* no.' At last, by a certain motion of his head, I conceived 
that he answered in the affirmative. He certainly is a very 
fine young man. 

" I have been three months in Sicily and Naples, experi- 
enced many difficulties in passing through the most 
romantic country in the world, Calabria saw Hercu- 

* Colborne is quoting from Otway's History and Fall of Caius 
Marius, a classicized version of Romeo and Juliet. All that is Otway's 
in these lines is the addition, "and very rueful "; the rest is Shake- 
speare's, though Colborne was perhaps unaware of it. 

f In Smollett's Humphry Blinker. 

i8o2.] TOUR IN ITALY. 37 

laneum, Pompeii, Pozzoli, Baias and Cumaa, and ascended 
the two mountains ^Etna and Vesuvius and am returned, . 
perfect master of Italian, speak it fluently, much better than 
a Neapolitan and full as well as a Roman never praise 
yourself. I shall not attempt giving a description of these 
countries, the history of which, both antient and modern, 
you are so well acquainted with. Besides, any poetical 
descriptions would swell my letter too much. I presume 
you have read Brydone. I have discovered that his 
volumes are poesy, that is, fiction, the greatest part; he 
deserves praise for his ingenuity. I doubt whether he ever 
visited Sicily. 

" I am afraid now my chance for a company is not great, 
unless we go to the West Indies, where, if we go, I would 
not compound for a majority. 

" You will say this is a strange hand he writes now, but 
know, this is a pattern for you to copy I think there are 
more words in one page of this than in any letter I have 
ever received from you. Your words are in general so 
stretched, that even if you had news or inclination to fill 
your epistle, no common sheet of paper would contain your 

" I see by the paper my Uncle Colborne is dead, the last 
of the family that was good for anything (present company 

" As for Mrs. G. , I will never call on her if I should be 
in London for a year. I recollect that woman opened a 
letter of yours about six years ago. It has made an im- 
pression on my mind. She must be an old sinner, for a 
woman or a man that would commit the above-mentioned 
action would not scruple at any mischief. Am sorry you 
called on her. Yours affectionately, 


The following reminiscences relate to this time. 
" When I was in Sicily, on my return from Cala- 
bria, an officer at Malta in order to escape marrying 

38 IN MALTA. [Cn. III. 

a lady or being assassinated by her brother, set off 
in a tremendous storm in a little shironata, and sailed 
to Syracuse. It was a great wonder that he was 
not swamped. We were all watching her in. After 
he had arrived and told his story, an American sea 
captain who was present said to him, ' Sir, I would 
rather have married the vilest woman on earth 
than have set out in such a storm as this ! J 

' This American captain was a very ugly fellow 
the ugliest man I ever saw. At Gibraltar there was 
an officer I forget his name but he was always 
called ' Ugly Jack/ One day, when this American 
captain was on the parade ground, he went up to 
this officer, and pulling out a snuff-box, said, ' There, 
Sir, that's yours. 1 ' How mine ? What do you 
mean ? ' * Why, that snuff-box was given me to give 
to any man that I found uglier than myself, and I 
think I've found him ! ' 

' The same man once said to me, ' The President 
asked me what I thought of having chaplains on 
board every ship, and I said, " I don't like it at all, 
I have sailed in six or seven British ships and only 
met one respectable chaplain." 

" He said at another time, ' Your navy will be 
much better than ours ; there are very few of us old 
fellows left in our navy, and when we are gone it 
will be worth nothing ! ' 

" He once gave a ball at Naples, and borrowed 
a beautiful band, and after the ball was over he sailed 
away and took the band off to America, as a present 
to the President. For this he was dismissed the 


During the 2Oth's long stay in Malta, from 1802 


to 1805, it was quartered first at Vittoriosa, later, 
from May, 1803, at Valetta.* Colborne remained 
still zealous for self-improvement. " At Malta," he 
once said, " I was learning several things, and 
wanted all the time I could get, so I had a bell 
fixed to my bed and gave a man a dollar or so a 
month to ring it at four every morning when he 
went to ring the bell of the neighbouring church; 
and I used to get up immediately. I found, after 
the first two or three mornings, that I awoke before 
the bell rang. Among other things, as it was the 
time that the French gave up the Ionian Islands, 
and there was some chance of our going there, I 
got a Greek master and set to work to learn Greek, 
and soon knew a good deal of it." Late in life it 
was Colborne's lot, as Lord Seaton, to govern the 
Ionian Islands, but he had then forgotten his early 
attainments in Modern Greek. 

Colborne was not, however, merely a student 
himself ; he encouraged his subalterns to study also. 
In a memoir of Colonel T. F. Wade, C.B.,t we are 
told : " On joining the regiment [at Malta, 2ist July, 
1805], Ensign Wade had the good fortune to be 
posted to the company of Captain John Colborne ; 
and by this great soldier he was instructed, not only 
in his duties as a subaltern, but in much beside, 
especially in foreign languages." 

But the time at Malta was one of play as well as 
work. On one occasion Colborne formed one of a 

* From April, 1804, to September, 1805, Colborne's schoolfellow, 
S. T. Coleridge, was living in Malta as secretary to the Governor. 
Did Colborne meet him, one wonders. 

f Lancashire Fusiliers' Annual for 1893, p. 71. 

40 IN MALTA. [Cn. III. 

party who, at a masquerade at the palace, were to 
represent Silenus and his crew.* "We took the 
colonel's donkey, and after we had stolen him, the 
difficulty was to get him upstairs. However, we 
carried him up. On entering the room the first 
person we saw was the colonel himself. He came 
up, looking very hard at the donkey, and said, ' Why, 
I do believe that is my donkey ! ' I was dressed as 
a Bacchanal attending Silenus. An intimate friend 
of mine was dressed as a town crier, and had papers, 
' Lost such and such a thing/ which he read out, 
and when he saw someone laughing at the allusion 
to some one else, he pulled out another paper which 
reflected on him. He offended nearly every one in 
the room, and no one could find out who he was. 

" On another occasion, when some private 
theatricals were being arranged, two friends of 
mine, to play a joke, sent another person to request 
me to be manager. It was just at a time when I 
was working hard and occupied all day. So, when 
this person was shown in to me, and made his 
request, I was as angry as possible, received him in 
the most formal manner, and said, ' Certainly not/ 
He went out quite confused, and I heard afterwards 
that he said he would never have been induced to 
go if he had known what sort of a person I was. 

" The rain at Malta in the winter is very violent 
indeed. I remember once when we were there, 
after a few days' rain, such a torrent came down a 
street against the gate of a guard-room that it was 
broken open, and a sergeant and two soldiers of the 

* Cp. C. Steevens, Reminiscences, p. 41. 

I802-5-] THE DUKE OF KENT. 41 

guard were washed away. It was near the sea, and 
the sergeant was washed into it and drowned, but 
the two men saved themselves." 

During part of the time of Colborne's stay in 
Malta, H.R.H. the Duke of Kent was Governor of 
Gibraltar. Colborne used to tell stories of the 
Duke's extraordinary attention to small points of 
dress. " When the Duke of Kent was at Gibraltar, 
as soon as a ship arrived, he used to send on board 
a tailor and a hairdresser to measure the men's cuffs 
and collars and hair, lest they should not be accord- 
ing to regulation. He was so particular, that I 
remember when we were at Malta, if an officer 
arrived from Gibraltar, the whole garrison used to 
turn out to see the Gibraltar dress. The Duke was 
once cleverly out-manoeuvred. As he was riding 
out with his staff he saw a man in a fatigue dress 
and immediately gave him chase, but the man disap- 
peared, and they could not find him. However, the 
Duke had a capital eye, and next morning at parade 
he recognized the man. So he called him out and 
said, ' Now, I'll forgive you if you'll tell me how you 
escaped? ' * Why, Sir/ was the reply, ' I saw a fatigue 
party coming along, and I took up step and joined 
them, and you passed me/ So the Duke had been 
beaten through the man's presence of mind ! Once, 
at a review of Russian troops, after getting Prince 

W to bring out his best regiment and go 

through some manoeuvres, he said, * Well, that was 
well done, and I ought to be a judge, for for twelve 
years (or whatever the number was) I have never 
one single day missed a parade ! ' " 

42 IN MALTA. [Cn. III. 

The following letters of Colborne's date from 
these years in Malta: 

" Malta, 

" 1 3th October, 1802. 

" Dear Sir, As there are no tidings of the Grand 
Master, I shall recommence a correspondence which has 
been interrupted for several months by the appearance of 
a speedy evacuation of Malta. It is generally believed 
that the English garrison will remain here till the summer. 
Two thousand Neapolitan soldiers have been sent to us, 
rather prematurely. The French envoy is arrived, a 
major-general, possessing, to a great degree, all the im- 
pudence peculiar to his nation. His aide-de-camp has 
already caused some disturbance at the theatre. Thinking 
it beneath the duty of a Republican to conform to English 
customs, he refused to stand up while ' God save the King ' 
was played ; in consequence of which he was turned out, 
not in the politest manner, apparently by the universal 
consent of the audience. Alexandria is still in our pos- 
session, and there are no preparations for the departure 
of our troops. A French frigate has been dispatched there 
to ascertain the cause of the delay in conforming to the 
definite treaty. The Mamelukes are killing the Turks 
without mercy ; the former are victorious in every action. 
The 2Oth Regiment will probably revisit Egypt before 

" We have had ' dira febris ' among us, which has been 
more destructive than battles or sieges ; but the climate 
is now become mild and agreeable, and, of course, more 
healthy. The heat for three months was intolerable. Our 
two battalions are consolidated Yours affectionately, 


" Malta, 

"gth December, 1802. 

" Dear Sir, I am sure it will give you great pleasure 
to hear of my appointment to a company. My commission 


is dated 2Oth May.* I esteem myself most fortunate, as 
there is not another instance of promotion going in a regi- 
ment where the vacancy has been caused by duelling. 
Had it not been for this step I might probably have 
remained many years in my former situation, as the vacan- 
cies now are generally filled up by the half-pay. Yours 
affectionately, " J. CoLBORNE." 

Writing to Mr. Bargus, in July, 1804, Colborne 
says he has sent a bracelet for his sister and slippers 
for Mr. Bargus. He comments on the engagement 
of his sister, Miss Colborne, to the Rev. Duke 
Yonge, and continues : 

" The French are in full march to Naples, a Neapolitan 
frigate has been dispatched to Lord Nelson for assist- 
ance. I hope it may be productive of some active service. 
Ten thousand men might be employed advantageously in 
Sicily, and would save many a broken head. The French 
will be there before us ; to drive them out when they have 
possession of Syracuse and Messina will be very difficult 

" We are all delighted that the reign of the Addingtons 
is ended. Their abilities seem to have [been] useful to a 
few bishops and the Addington family ; the loss of them to 
the country will not be very great We have an imperfect 
account of another monstrous coalition, Pitt and Fox, etc. 
The dread of an invasion will never cease. You are as 
safe in England as we are in this impregnable Malta. 
The new Emperor will not land a man in England, neither 
will he attempt it Let him have a million gunboats, still 
he will never use them. Ireland is certainly the vulnerable 
heel, but to wound it he must hazard much. Politicians 
think he has a deeper scheme. There has been an in- 
surrection at Tripoli incited by la republique imperiale. It 
is reported the Emperor means to occupy the whole of the 
African coast in the Mediterranean. Yours affectionately, 


* Colborne had been a Brevet-Captain since I2th January, 1800. 

44 W MALTA. [CH. III. 

Writing from Malta on i5th September, 1804, to 
his half-sister, Miss Alethea Bargus, he acknow- 
ledges the gift of a pin containing her hair, and 
continues : - - 

" As your hair becomes darker, so mine on the contrary 
takes a lighter shade, and I fear before we meet it will be 
a beautiful grey. 

" Do not forget to collect all the laughable family anec- 
dotes, as I am become very grave and my mouth now 
resembles that of the parish clerk of Barkway. I am 
quite tired of Malta, and half roasted by the heat of last 
summer. I will not invite you to pay me a visit here, but 
I shall be happy to see you when we are at Naples. Your 
affectionate brother, 


To Mr. Bargus. 

" Malta, 

" 1 8th October, 1804. 

" Dear Sir, Thank God the hot weather is passed and 
we are again in our own climate. We have lost too many 
of our men in the hot months, owing to their sacrificing so 
frequently to Bacchus. We are now about 800 bayonets, 
and in the highest order. I really think there is no regi- 
ment in the service that has so much esprit de corps as 
the 20th. 

" Transports are ordered to be ready to receive 4,500 
men, but for whom we are ignorant. The order has caused 
a variety of speculations some say they are for the Rus- 
sians, who have already 12,000 men assembled at Corfu, 
others say the garrison is going on an expedition. I am of 
opinion we shall not be idle in the spring. 

" They have not yet given us a 2nd battalion. His 
Royal Highness the Duke ought to consider that our two 
battalions last war were Egyptian volunteers, the only 


regiment of that description in Egypt I speak feelingly, 
for a 2nd battalion would probably make me 2nd captain. 
Colonel Oliphant is about to sell out; the step will pass 
over me as the four senior captains are too poor to pur- 
chase. It is a hard case to see a junior captain, almost 
blind and quite unfit for a field officer, leap over all our 
heads. I have no reason to complain, for I believe there is 
not a more fortunate man than myself. 

" I should like to see your improvements at Barkway, 
and hope to pay you a visit when we have Peace, provided 
the French do not plunder the "parsonage. Yours 
affectionately, " J. COLBORNE." 


" loth February, 1805. 

" Dear Sir, Lord Nelson was off Messina on the 3Oth 
January. The French left Toulon on i8th January. 
They have passed the island for Egypt a second expedi- 
tion must be the consequence. Yours affectionately, 

"J. C" 



DURING the campaign, which ended on 2nd Decem- 
ber with the battle of Austerlitz, Russia and England 
agreed each to send a force into the kingdom of 
Naples, although the King of Naples committed a 
breach of faith by countenancing the project, as he 
had bound himself not to admit into his ports or 
territories the fleets or armies of any power at war 
with France. As the 2Oth Regiment formed part 
of the British force under Lieutenant-General Sir 
James Craig, it at last " escaped from Malta," as the 
following letters of Colborne show. The first letter, 
it may be noted, was written eleven days after 
Trafalgar, but the great victory remained unknown 
to the force till after its arrival at Naples. It would 
seem that even then only the bare news of the victory 
arrived at first, as Colborne used to relate that the 
Queen of Naples said she was sure Nelson must 
have been killed or he would have written to her. 

To Mr. Bargus. 

" Malta, 
" 1st November, 1805. 

" My dear Sir, We embarked yesterday and sail to- 


morrow for Syracuse to unite with the Russians thence 
we proceed to Italy. Yours affectionately, 


" 1 4th November [1805]. At sea, 

" My dear Sir, I was very fortunate in receiving your 
letter of the nth August the day we sailed from Malta, 
whence we escaped 3rd November. Harassed by per- 
petual contrary winds, we beat about Cape Passaro till the 
loth, and were unable to join the Russians before that day. 
We are now standing towards Maretimo on our passage 
to Naples. The expedition should have arrived there early 
in the present month, but these democratic winds have so 
long delayed us that a salute from the French on our land- 
ing will probably be the consequence. Commodore Gregg* 
commands the Russian squadron, consisting of four sail 
of the line, two frigates, and troopships carrying 14,000 
hardy barbarians. The whole combined army is com- 
manded by Field-Marshal Lacy, about 22,000. The 
French force at Terracina, about three days' march from 
Naples, amounts to 23,000, commanded by St. Cyr. 
Nature has not been lavish in her gifts to the English 
generals on the expedition, they are men of very limited 
capacities and no experience, but I trust this defect in 
our army will be remedied by the conduct of the excellent 
regiments that compose it. The service for which we are 
destined will more tencl to form good soldiers, and improve 
us in the knowledge of our profession, than any that 
British troops have lately been employed on. I have 
already planned the campaign. The Austrians that occupy 
the position [on] the Adige between Verona and Legnago 
are to attack that of the French extending from Peschiera 
to Mantua. Another Austrian army will then cross the 
Po and advance towards Genoa, which motion will render 
the situation of the army which we mean to beat very 

* Called by Bunbury, p. 202, Greig. 


dangerous, and should they not make a rapid retreat, will 
probably be cut off. 

" Provided your humble servant is not a head minus, you 
shall have a correct account of our operations, and am, 
Your truly affectionate, " J. C." 

Alas, the star of Austerlitz was in the ascendant, 
and the hopes of the young British strategist were 
quickly belied ! 

"Baola (?), 

" 1 3th January, 1806. 

" My dear Sir, Nothing of importance having occurred, 
I have not written to you since our disembarking at Castel 
a Mare ; but little did I think that my next letter would 
inform you of a retrogade movement without firing a shot. 
The combined army was cantoned in the vicinity of Naples 
till the 1 1 th of December, when it moved forward, passed 
the Volturno at Capua, and providentially arrived in good 
order as far as the Massic Mountains, an extraordinary 
circumstance considering the talents of our generals. The 
headquarters of the Russians were fixed at Teano, those 
of the English at Sessa. In these cantonments we 
remained till the loth of January, anxiously expecting to 
cross the Garigliano. But how great was our surprise at 
the British troops being ordered to recross the Volturno! 
It was intended that we should have occupied the pass at 
Fondi, the Russians that of Ponte Corvo, and 30,000 
Neapolitans were to have defended our right near Sul- 
mona, extending our line from the Mediterranean to the 
Pescara, but the defection of the Russians has been the 
cause of Sir James Craig making a most inglorious, ridicu- 
lous retreat, and so dangerous was our situation thought 
that he ordered the regiment which had advanced as far as 
Itri to retire 36 miles in one day and burn the bridge over 
the Garigliano in its retreat. Possibly these precautions 
were necessary, yet the enemy was not within forty leagues 
of us, and might have penetrated the Neapolitan dominions 

x8o6.] SIX J. CRAIG'S RETREAT. 49 

by Ponte Corvo had he been inclined to interrupt us in our 
retreat. This disgraceful haste, added to the slovenly, 
confused manner of our march, increased the alarm of the 
peasantry who thought themselves abandoned, and the 
cause desperate. Admitting that our force scarcely 
deserved the name of army, and was incapable of resist- 
ing any considerable number of the enemy, and that ulti- 
mately we must have evacuated the country, yet our 
remaining in it to the last moment would have checked 
that democratic spirit so prevalent here. Gaeta, a strong 
fortress, was open to us, and we might have retired there 
or into Calabria, had we been hard pressed. The Cala- 
brians, who are well affected, might have been raised en 
masse. We are now in full march to Castel a Mare to re- 
embark. Our precipitate retreat has given the Neapolitans 
a very unfavourable impression of the spirit of English 
soldiers. You may easily conceive with what regret I shall 
leave the canipania felice, and how vexed and disappointed 
I am at the conclusion of this expedition, after speculating 
so much on the success of the campaign. Acting with 
large armies is the only method of obtaining a knowledge 
of our profession, and even this short affair has pointed out 
many defects among us, which will exist as long as inactive 
old men are selected to command. The Commander-in- 
Chief is at present afflicted with the dropsy, or some other 
disease that renders him unfit for active service. There 
are five generals with us, one of them alone can speak the 
language of the country to which they were sent. 

" The sudden transition from a sterile, parched-up rock 
to a fertile, picturesque country, from a sickly hot climate 
to one cold and bracing, might be compared to a passage 
from the dismal regions to Elysium. Remaining so long 
at Malta, one's ideas became as contracted as the island 
Thus the delightful scenery of the Bay of Naples, the 
immense hills covered with oaks, olives and vineyards and 
the many grand objects that were presented to our view 
on entering it, formed a most striking contrast to the 
country we had lately left, and had a double effect on us 

50 IN SICILY. [Cn. IV. 

Maltese. While I was at Nocera I had an opportunity of 
revisiting the ruins of Herculaneum, Pompeii and Pestura 
" The farther we advanced the more beautiful was the 
appearance of the country, but the misery of the inhabi- 
tants and infamy of the government are but too conspicu- 
ous. Your affectionate." 

The retreat, which caused Colborne so much 
disappointment, requires a few words of explanation. 

The triumphant Emperor of the French, on the 
morning after the signing of the Treaty of Press- 
burg, issued a proclamation that as a punishment for 
its perfidy, " the Neapolitan dynasty had ceased to 
reign," and soon afterwards despatched an army of 
50,000 men, under Massena and his brother Joseph, 
to take possession of Naples. Such an army could 
not be withstood by the Russian and English forces 
now in the Peninsula. On the 7th January the 
Russians received orders to retire, and the British, 
being freed from any further obligation, re-embarked 
at Castellamare with the intention, however, not of 
returning to Malta, but of holding Sicily for King 
Ferdinand. The king, however, who had himself 
fled to Palermo, was so much irritated by the British 
desertion of the mainland that though the force 
arrived in the harbour of Messina on 22nd January, 
for four weeks he would not allow it to be landed. 
Eventually, on i7th February, it was permitted to 
land and occupy Messina. On i5th February 
Joseph Bonaparte had entered Naples amid popular 
rejoicings, and two months later, by his brother's 
decree, he was created King of the Two Sicilies. 

Meanwhile the Prince of Hesse Philippsthal still 
held the citadel of Gaeta against the French, and 


Major-General Stuart, who had succeeded Sir J. 
Craig in the command of the British forces, thought 
a fresh venture might be tried, and a French design 
of invading Sicily anticipated. Accordingly a force 
was collected and landed in the Bay of St. Eufemia 
on ist July. One company of the 2Oth, under 
Captain McLean, was included in the Light Infantry 
Brigade under Lieutenant-Colonel Kempt, another 
company of the 2Oth was included in the Grenadier 
Battalion, which with the 27th Regiment formed 
Cole's Brigade. The battalion companies of the 2Oth 
Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ross, were 
not despatched with the main force, but were ordered, 
before landing, to make a diversion on different 
points of the coast. Accordingly they landed only 
on 4th July, when Colonel Ross, hearing that the 
main army was about to be engageH with the French, 
hurried his regiment forward partly at a running 
pace, and succeeded in arriving on the plain of 
Maida just at the moment to decide the issue of the 

Colborne's account of the battle, given in the 
following letter, is another instance of his singular 
modesty, as he says nothing whatever about himself, 
and we are left uncertain whether he came on the 
field with Ross or had been present from the 
beginning of the action. If the latter, as his account 
seems to imply, he had probably commanded the 
grenadier company of the 2Oth. 

To Mr. Bargus. 

" Camp near Monteleone, 

" nth July, 1806. 
" My dear Sir, This sheet of paper you will perceive 


bears strong marks of active service, and as all my baggage 
is contained in my pocket it has, of course, been consider- 
ably damaged. I have not time to give you a detailed 
account of one of the most glorious battles that an English 
army has ever fought. 

" The expedition sailed from Messina, and arrived in 
the Bay of St. Euphemia on the ist of July. On the 4th 
Sir John Stuart moved on to attack the French army 
under the command of Regnier, who occupied an excellent 
position in a wood above the plain of Maida, but confident 
in his own genius, the superiority in numbers both 
cavalry and infantry, and despising us too much, he ad- 
vanced to the plain to meet us. The right was first en- 
gaged, and some of the best regiments of the enemy 
charged us with the greatest intrepidity, nor were our men) 
less forward to meet them. Reserving our fire till we came 
within a short distance, the astonished invincibles were 
mowed down by a well-directed fire, and the right of our 
line passed through their left. Few of them escaped. 
Their dead and wounded marked the original line. In 
this affair our light infantry distinguished themselves. 

" All the force of the enemy was now directed to the 
left, endeavouring frequently to turn it, but owing to the 
cool and gallant conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Smith and 
the 27th Regiment under his command, who penetrated the 
design of General Regnier, this attack succeeded as the 
one on the right. The 2Oth, coming up at this critical 
moment in echelon, and forming on the left of the 2/th, 
the enemy retired in the greatest confusion, and had we 
had cavalry, every man of them would have been a prisoner. 
The loss in our regiment has been chiefly confined to the 
flank companies, above five and thirty privates and one 
captain [McLean], a particular and intimate friend of mine 
and the only officer killed in the field. He was shot 
through the heart at the commencement of the action. 
The field of battle after the action was a horrid sight. 
The loss of the French in killed, wounded and prisoners 
is almost incredible, nearly 2,000. Our army entered the 

//ivt^^S H \\""\v'yv7 -T: 

i8o6.] BATTLE OF MAI DA. 53 

field with 4,600, the enemy had 7,200 bayonets and 300 
cavalry. Fortunate it is for us that the spectators were 
numerous. I now begin to think, as our ancestors did, 
that one Englishman is equal to two Frenchmen. Yours 
affectionately, " J. C." 

The action is excellently described by Sir H. E. 
Bunbury.^ He tells us that after McLean's death 
Colborne succeeded to the command of the light 
company of the regiment. He was possibly selected 
for the duty on account of his knowledge of Italian. 

Colborne related afterwards that at Maida two Swiss 
regiments, but for an accident, would have been 
actually opposed to one another. " Colonel Claval, 
one of the Swiss with the French, was wounded 
and taken prisoner. I went to see him with a Swiss 
officer from a regiment which had always been in 
our service. After we left, the Swiss with me said, 
* I know that man perfectly well, we are from the 
same canton, but he did not recognize me.' } 

On the day after the battle, as Bunbury tells us, 
the army marched to the little town of Maida, where 
Sir John Stuart devoted the day to writing his des- 
patch. " In the meantime, Colonel Kempt had 
advanced some distance along the hills and detached 
the light company of the 2Oth (under Captain Col- 
borne) to follow the track of the enemy and gather 
information. It pressed forward, expecting that our 
army was advancing in the same direction, and it 
overtook the rear of the French column, which was 
marching in great confusion ; but discovering to his 
mortification, at the end of the second day, that he 

* Pp. 244, 245. 


was entirely without support, Captain Colborne 
found it necessary to fall back on his battalion." 

The following represents Colborne's account of 
this business as he gave it in conversation towards 
the end of his life : -* 

" It was after the battle of Maida, and we were 
going on towards a town called Borgia, and were not 
at all certain where the French were. I commanded 
the advanced guard about 87 soldiers and two dra- 
goons (these were my cavalry). I had only one 
other officer with me. The column was some way 
behind us, and my guide was getting frightened, 
so I said, ' Well, I can't help it ; if you don't show 
us the way, or get another guide, you must be 
hanged/ So he went with two or three soldiers 
and tried to knock up somebody in a cottage. At 
last a man was found who said he would lead us if 
we would let him go when we were within a hundred 
yards of the town. When we were within sight of 
the town he took care to put us in mind of our 
engagement, and we let him go. Then I had not 
the least idea whether the French were there or not. 
Just at the entrance to the town I saw a man, so I 
said, ' There, catch him ! make haste ! ' We ran 
after him and tried to catch him, but he ran into his 
cottage, and the same thing happened with two or 
three others, until we actually found ourselves half- 
way up the town. At last we got a man who hap- 
pened to be the ' Capo Genti,' the head of the town ; 
so I said, ' Dove sono i Francesl ? ' * Oh, they passed 
through five or six hours ago, and are encamped a 
few miles further on.' Then all the people, when 
they found we were English, came flocking round 


us, and I had begun to take lodgings for us all, when 
a message came from our column that it had 
retreated. Hearing rockets and fireworks they 
thought it must be the enemy, when really it was 
the people in the town firing for joy of our arrival. 
This retreat of our column was a great pity. The 
French retired still further the next day, and the 
people of the town were very angry with us, because, 
in my expectation of the column, I had ordered 4,000 
rations. They all turned out and reproached us, 
and I was anxious as to w r hat would happen. I 
said, ' It is not my fault. I am very sorry indeed to 
go back/ But they were very angry all the same. 

" So after marching all day and all night, at four 
o'clock we had to march back again. I had a bad 
fever afterwards, but I do not know if that was the 
reason. Great numbers had fever owing to the 
carelessness of the Quartermaster-General's depart- 
ment, who took up our quarters close to a marsh; 
although you are sure to get malaria if you sleep 
anywhere where there is stagnant water and the ther- 
mometer between 80 and 90. About sixteen in a 
company died of it, and the doctors did not know 
how to treat it, and bled for it, so it was nearly a year 
before the army was free of it. I was bled for it, 
and had all my hair shaved and went over to 

Of the moral effect produced on Englishmen by 
the battle of Maida, Alison speaks in terms which 
recall the last sentence of Colborne's letter. " It was 
a duel between France and England, and France 
had fallen in the conflict . . . people no longer 
hesitated to speak of Cressy and Azincour." Even 


the local results were for the moment considerable. 
The French forces hastily retreated, leaving artillery, 
stores, ammunition, and every town or fort in Cala- 
bria to the victors. But on the i8th July Massena 
took Gaeta, and his army of 18,000 men was free to 
assist Reynier. Sir John Stuart had no course 
before him buf to re-embark his forces for Palermo, 
though by doing so he was forced to incur the 
reproach of abandoning the peasantry whom he had 
stirred up to war. 

( 57 ) 



To Colborne himself the Calabrian expedition 
resulted in good; in fact, it laid the foundations of 
his future fortunes. General Fox, brother of the 
Minister, having been sent to Sicily to supersede 
Sir John Stuart in the command of the British forces 
in the Mediterranean, Colborne became his military 
secretary, 1 * and was thus brought into close contact 
with Sir John Moore, who, nominally Fox's second 
in command, was practically, as a more vigorous and 
experienced soldier, his adviser and equal. When 
Fox was recalled, and Moore succeeded to his com- 
mand, Colborne still remained military secretary, 
and acquired a devotion to his master which lasted 
beyond the dark hour at Corunna and became the 
inspiration of his life. 

But if Moore's friendship and protection were 
valuable to Colborne, we do not doubt that they 
were well earned by Colborne's own qualities. 
Even in the criticisms which he passes on others in 
the following letters we see the fruits of native 

* It is said that in making the appointment General Fox wrote : 
" You owe your appointment to the reputation and name you have 
acquired in the Army." 

58 IN SICILY. [Cn. V. 

military genius improved by years of serious study 
and dauntless adventure. 

To Mr. Bargus. 

" Messina, 

"3 ist August [1806]. 

" My dear Sir, I have had a very narrow escape, and 
have been very ill with a violent fever contracted in Cala- 
bria, but, however, it has been a fortunate expedition to 
me, and by a lucky accident [I] have acquired some good 
friends. General Fox has appointed me his military secre- 
tary, a confidential post, and thirty shillings per diem in 
addition to my pay as captain but it is no sinecure. I 
have not had a single moment to myself, but General Fox 
goes to Palermo to-night and I shall have time to write 

to you Yours affectionately, 


" Messina, 

" 23rd June, 1807. 

" My dear Sir, The few letters you have lately received 
from me, I am afraid, will make me appear to you a most 
ungrateful fellow. The fact is, I have nothing to say in 
my defence, except that procrastination has generally been 
the cause of my not writing. ... I do not mean to 
offer this as a tolerable excuse, as one can always find time 
to write, if determined. 

" I received your letter of the 1st of November, and am 
much obliged to you for it The Fox's have always been 
very attentive and civil to me. 

" I work excessively hard, and in truth it is a most 
laborious office ; the confinement does not agree with me, 
activity in the open air being more congenial with my dis- 

" I have acquired some very good friends since the Cala- 
brian expedition. General Sir J. Moore has behaved to 


me in a most friendly manner, and I am under great obliga- 
tion to him. Being now the senior captain in my regiment, 
I have some chance of getting a majority ; at least, I shall 
be much disappointed if I do not succeed. The senior 
major has memorialed to succeed to a lieutenant-colonelcy 
now vacant. If this promotion does take place I have 
every reason to expect the majority from a letter Sir J. 
Moore has been good enough to write home about me. 
General Fox did not know I was the senior captain, and 
I thought it would be impudent to remind him. 

" You will have heard of our disasters in Egypt. A more 
foolish expedition never was planned, and I am sorry to 
say the misfortunes that have happened to our force there 
since its arrival can only be attributed to the incapacity of 
the chiefs ; 1,400 men have been lost to the service in a 
most provoking manner. The British troops are now at 
Alexandria, and in perfect security. If 3,000 men had 
been sent with Admiral Duckworth to the Dardanelles, it 
would have given quite a different turn to affairs in that 

" England and Russia are now very anxious for peace 
with the Porte ; this war Has been the cause of Austria 
hanging back. Our army here has been mutilated by the 
different detachments sent from it to Egypt and Malta; 
without reinforcements we can do nothing. 

" The Prince of Hesse has had the folly to undertake an 
expedition in Calabria, and mistaking the falling back of 
the French outposts for the retreat of their army, he ad- 
vanced to Mileto, near Monteleone, where he was culbute 
in a most complete manner, and his army, upon the first 
discharge, ran 25 miles without looking behind them. We 
remain silent and inactive spectators, and, / think, make 
a most ridiculous figure. I should not be surprised were 
General Fox to be recalled, he is too honest to be em- 
ployed in such a corrupt country as this, and by a 

" You have no idea of the imbecility of your Ministry, I 
mean, both parties, for, believe me, there is very little 

60 IN SICILY. [Cn. V. 

difference in their conduct. The bad information they 
have of all this part of the world is incredible. The people 
they employ on what they call secret missions or em- 
bassies are quite children, all theory, waiting for orders, 
and take up half their lives in communicating with 

" This army has dwindled into nothing by the neglect 
of the late Ministers ; no orders, no instructions for those 
in command how to act have been received from them. 
We are looked upon here as the supporters of an oppres- 
sive government, and I can venture to say, a more infamous 
one never existed. We have lost our popularity here 
altogether, for the Sicilians expect nothing from us. This 
army, had it been kept afloat (leaving garrisons in the forti- 
fied towns of this island), ready to act in the north of Italy, 
or Dalmatia, might have annoyed the enemy greatly, and 
assisted our allies. We might have destroyed every 
Frenchman in Italy, and prevented them reinforcing their 
Armies from that part. . . . Your most obliged and 


" Messina, 

"2nd August, 1807. 

" My dear Sir, In my last letter I mentioned to you 
that I should not be surprised at General Fox being re- 
called ; and in a few days after the date of it, a communi- 
cation from the Duke of York unexpectedly arrived, 
begging him to attribute his recal to the fear of His 
Majesty's Ministers that he would not be able to support 
the fatigue of an active campaign, from bad health ; and 
expressing a wish that he should give up the command 
of the army in the Mediterranean to the person to whom 
the executive part must ultimately fall, General Sir John 

" Now, as General Fox has not enjoyed better health 

1807.] Sf JOHN MOORE. 6 1 

for many years, and had received directions from Ministers 
relative to active operations a few days previous to the 
receipt of the duke's letter, he is (not without reason) much 
mortified at leaving this command. 

" Mrs. Fox is good enough to say she will forward this 
to you. They embark to-morrow on board the ' Intrepid.' 

" I might have easily obtained leave to go to England, 
and perhaps with some advantage, but much as I wish to 
see you again, I could not quit this part of the world, fore- 
seeing an active campaign, and not being a little flattered 
at Sir John Moore's asking me a few hours after he knew 
of General Fox's recal whether I had any objection to 
remain with him in the same situation. 

" Sir John Moore is one of the best generals we have 
(that, you will say, is not much to his credit), an active, 
acute, intelligent officer, about 43 years of age, and full of 
that coolness in action and difficult situations, so necessary 
to those who command. He is one of those determined 
and independent characters who act and speak what they 
think just and proper, without paying the least regard to 
the opinion of persons of interest or in power. If he have 
a fair opportunity, I conceive he will prove a most excellent 

" Considering my unntness for an office of the kind 
which I occupy, both from disposition and habit, I have 
got through the business of it tolerably well, but not 
without infinite labour, and have been harassed almost 
every hour for these last twelve months. The particular 
situation of General Fox's command in Sicily has involved 
him in a most extensive and important correspondence;* 
this, added to the detail and routine of the army here, has 
allowed me but few leisure moments. 

" You may easily conceive that I shall part with Genera! 
Fox with the greatest regret. He is an honest, good- 
hearted man. Having been now acquainted with his 
family so long, I feel quite hurt at the thoughts of 

* General Fox was not only in military command, but British 
Minister to the Neapolitan court. 

62 IN SICILY. [Cn. V. 

separating from them. Mrs. Fox is an amiable woman, 
and one of the best and [most] ladylike characters I have 
ever met with. 

" Yesterday we were alarmed with the report of a peace 
with [between ?] Russia and France. I believe it ; and 
am afraid the Battle of Friedland has been but too deci- 
sive. Things cannot be worse with us. We shall have 
soon enough to do in this part of the world. . . . 
Yours truly and affectionately, 


" P.S. I have sent by Mrs. Fox a few silks for gowns 
or anything else for Mrs. R, Delia, Alethea, Fanny and 
Maria.* They tell me they are at present fashionable." 

In Sicily Colborne was still training himself for 

" I remember at that time I thought it was the 
best way to prepare for active service by sleeping 
and eating as you would in the field ; a bad plan in 
some respects, for I found afterwards that the more 
you saved yourself the more you could bear after, 
but not altogether. It is very bad to sleep on a 
feather bed, for example a good hard mattrass is 
the thing. Now, I had a very thin one, scarcely 
enough to save my bones from the boards; a sort 
of truss! I do not suppose there was one officer in 
a hundred did as I did, and it occasioned a good deal 
cf joking among them. At Palermo, being military 
secretary, I had a very fine house, and I remember 
some officers passing through my room being struck 
with my luxury, and the contrast between my bed 
and the magnificence of the house. However, it was 
:i very good thing, all that. I kept myself in good 

* Maria Kingsman, a niece of Mrs. Bargus. 

i8o6- 7 .] WORK AND PLAY. 63 

health and good habit of body, without which I 
should never have got over my wound afterwards. I 
mean I was quite strong, but not fat or soft. After 
Sicily, when I went into active service I had very 
little baggage, all in a very small compass, and I 
tried placing my mattrass on boards, but I found I 
was too near the ground. If I had slept on the 
ground in a tent I should have got ill, you know. 
Then I got a very nice little iron bed which answered 
exactly; it folded up and took up very little room, 
and scarcely weighed six pounds." 

He tells the story of a practical joke played at 
this time in Sicily. " The 2Oth invited the 52nd to 
dinner. I was away at the time with General Fox. 
Poor Diggle of the 52nd was seated between two 
funny young officers of the 2Oth, who persuaded him, 
when they got to the toasts, that it was the custom 
of the regiment always to propose a toast ' Confusion 
to all General Officers.' So up he got, and with 
Colonel Ross seated at the head of the table, said, 
' President, I have a toast to propose, " D n all 
General Officers!" The officers of the 52nd at 
that time were a most proper set, all very anxious 
to please Sir John Moore, and the Colonel was so 
scandalized at this behaviour that at a meeting of the 
officers they almost agreed to turn Diggle out of 
the regiment. One of the officers wrote to me to 
tell me so. However, Colonel Ross understood how 
the whole thing had happened, and begged the 
colonel of the 52nd not to take any notice of it, as 
it was all a joke. Their great alarm was that it 
should come to Sir John Moore's ears, but I don't 
think he ever heard of it." 

64 IN SICILY. [CH. V. 

He tells the following stones of Sir John Moore 
and of General Fox: - 

" Sir John Moore once, in 1 806, in the presence 
of Mr. Drummond, our Minister Plenipotentiary, 
and General Fox, said jokingly, with reference to 
the Queen of Naples, ' Oh, we can easily ship her 
off to Trieste.' This, Mr. Drummond most mis- 
chievously and unwarrantably repeated to an associ- 
ate of Her Majesty. Sir John Moore was told that 
he had done so, and from that time conceived a bad 
opinion of Mr. Drummond, so much so, that when 
the queen came to Sicily, he held an interview with 
her without first asking Mr. Drummond to present 
him. The queen said to him, * Well, Sir John, so I 
find you are a Jacobin.' * Not more than Lord 
Nelson, 5 he replied. When Mr. Drummond remon- 
strated with him on what he called his ' very irregu- 
lar proceeding/ Sir John replied, c I am well aware, 
Mr. Drummond, of your irregular proceeding that 
you have repeated a private conversation/ Mr. 
Drummond had the effrontery to deny that he had 
done so, though the fact is undoubted. However, 
Sir John, owing to this, did not get on well with 
the queen. The British Government expected that 
she would entrust her forces to the British general. 

" General Charles O'Hara, who was Lieutenant- 
Governor of Gibraltar in 1792-3,* when Sir John 
Moore was serving there with the 5ist Regiment, 
was very anxious that Moore should disguise him- 
self as a sailor with a red cap, and make some obser- 
vations on the French at Ceuta, but Sir John said, 

* He was full Governor from 1795 to 1802. 

1806-7.] MOORE AND O'HARA. 65 

' No, thank you, general. I have no objection to 
go in my uniform, but I have no wish to be taken 
and hung as a spy.' It is, of course, allowable to 
hang anyone as a spy who goes in disguise, but an 
officer taken in uniform would not be hung, although 
he were engaged in the same occupation. 

" O'Hara was a very agreeable man, very talented 
and witty in fact, a specimen of a well-bred Irish 
gentleman. He was very angry when the army and 
navy had to cut their tails off. Gibraltar was a 
great place for soldiering in those days. Four or 
five hundred men mounted guard every day, and all 
the officers on guard used to stand behind the 
general on the parade ground. O'Hara was in a 
great rage one day when Moore appeared on parade 
without his tail. He said, ' I should not have been 
surprised if it had been one of the other officers, but 
Moore, who has been brought up under my own eye, 
I never expected him to do such a ridiculous thing ! ' 
They used to tell a story that when he was introduced 
to Colonel England, who was a man of very large 
proportions, he said aside to the officer who intro- 
duced him, ' England, indeed ! Great Britain, Ire- 
land and France ! ' He was a very good officer, and 
had seen a great deal of service. 

" At the time I was military secretary to General 
Fox he was thought an old officer; he was about 
fifty. He had a great objection to anything in the 
shape of display, and I recollect once, in making the 
tour of Sicily, he desired that no salutes should be 
fired for him. When, however, we came by Fort 
Auguste, they began to roar out a tremendous salute. 
So old Fox turned round very angrily and said, 


66 IN SICILY. [Cn. V. 

' Really, this is treating me very badly/ and sent off 
his aides-de-camp scampering right and left to stop 
the salute. 

" In Sicily they always have a quantity of bells 
hung round their mules' necks, and they can tell by 
the sound if the mule is lazy or going well. 
General Fox, being tired and unwell, was once 
ending a day's journey in a sort of covered sedan 
chair drawn by mules, and he told his aide-de-camp 
to desire the man to take the bells off the mules 
because the noise disturbed him. The man made 
great objections and said, ' Why, they would think I 
was carrying a dead person! ' So the aide-de-camp 
said, * Why, if he were dead, then you might have 
the bells, because he would not mind/ which tickled 
the fancy of the bystanders, and they laughed so 
much that the man was obliged to take off the bells. 

"A merchant named Warrington, who lived at 
Naples, told me that at the time when everybody 
was expecting that the king and queen were going 
to leave [December, 1798], he thought the best way 
was to go and watch the palace himself. So he went, 
and actually met the king and queen and Lord 
Nelson and Lady Hamilton coming downstairs, and 
he overheard Lady Hamilton say to Lord Nelson, 
' You did not forget the watch, did you ? ' He con- 
cluded directly from that that it was a regular flight, 
and hastened home as hard as he could and told his 
wife to pack up for Sicily. He proved to be right. 
The king and queen went on board the fleet that 

Colborne used to tell another story in connexion 
with Lord Nelson. Once at a ball at Sir 

1807.] NELSON. 67 

.William Hamilton's, Josiah Nisbet, Nelson's step- 
son, after drinking too much wine, pointed at Lady 
Hamilton and Nelson, and said, " That woman is 
ruining that man." Lady Hamilton went into hys- 
terics, and Nisbet, as he was being dragged away, 
shouted, " Clap a sw r ab to her neck ; that will bring 
her to ! " 

In the autumn of 1807, Napoleon having sent a 
large army under Junot to take possession of Lisbon, 
Sir John Moore received orders to sail from Sicily 
with the 2Oth and other regiments to support the 
Portuguese government. " We received the order 
to embark," said Colborne in 1847, "without being 
told where we were going. I was military secretary 
to Sir John Moore at the time, and Colonel Ross, a 
very great friend of mine, came to me and said, ' Can 
you tell me where we are going, or give me the least 
hint, whether east or west? It is of the greatest 
consequence to me, for if we go east, I shall leave 
Mrs. Ross here, but if west, we may be off anywhere, 
and in that case I should see her off for England 
directly.' I said, * Of course, I know where we are 
going, but I cannot give you the least hint; how- 
ever, I will go and ask Sir John Moore if I may tell 
you.' So I asked Sir John Moore, and he said, 
' Well, Ross is an honourable man, you may tell 
him/ We were going to Portugal." 

The next letters were written on the voyage to 

To Miss Bargus. 

" ' Queen,' off Sardinia, 

" 7th November, 1807. 

" My dearest Alethea, We are now fighting with an ill- 

D 2 

68 IN SICILY. [Cn. V. 

tempered westerly wind, which will not permit us to 
weather Sardinia seven days blowing from the same 
quarter it really is enough to irritate even a greater 
philosopher than myself. 

" On the 24th of October we embarked on board the 
' Chiffone ' frigate at Messina, and proceeded to Syracuse, 
where we changed to the ' Queen/ a three-decker, and, 
the convoy being collected, set sail to the southward and 
passed Sicily with a fair wind after being driven con- 
siderably to the eastward by a contrary gale. 

" If you chance to have a quarter of an hour to yourself, 
collect the news quickly, and let me hear from you during 
the time I remain at Gibraltar. You must be quick, or 
possibly I may be a thousand miles further. 

"Your last letter is dated on the i8th of June, in which 
you tell me you expect a copy of a poem from me. Now, 
although they say I am extremely flighty, yet 1 have a 
most unpostical head, but, be assured, had I been inspired, 
the muse would have sent forth at least a sonnet by every 
packet to you and Fanny. Instead of subscribing to my 
poem, I must insist on your taking two copies of a print 
designed by a particular friend of mine, Captain Pierre- 
pont, of the 2Oth Regiment I have not seen it in its 
finished stats, but I believe Loutherbourg has improved it 
and made it a very good picture. The subject, the battle 
of Maida. 

" I hope Richard Bargus has escaped the danger which 
seemed to threaten him. I am always sorry to hear of a 
military man being so foolish as to marry. 

" The conclusion of your last letter amused me very 
much. ' Your dutiful and loving sister, Rebecca Bargus.' 
How infinitely better Rebecca sounds at the end of the 
sentence than Alethea. Deborah or Tabitha might have 
been still more respectable. 

" Believe me, your most affectionate, but unwillingly I am 
obliged to add, your most undutiful brother, 



To Mr. Bargus. 

" ' H.M.S. Queen,' off Sardinia, 

"8th November, 1807. 

" My dear Sir, Thus far we are, on our passage to 
Gibraltar, with about 7,000 men, which it is supposed will 
be considerably increased on our arrival there. Our final 
destination is as yet a secret We have been so long with 
an unfavourable wind, I fear the object of the expedition 
will be known before our force is concentrated. 

" The Twentieth Regiment is in the fleet. I am in the 
same ship with Sir J. Moore and almost too comfortable. 
You may conceive that changing from a small transport 
to a three-decker is not much against my inclination. 

" The troops, I am sorry to say, are not abundantly sup- 
plied with provisions. 

" The more I see of the general, the better I like him ; 
and most sincerely hope he will be successful in the ser- 
vice for which he is intended. 

" Enclosed is a bill of exchange for "247 los. on the 
Lords of the Treasury, which sum, on settling my accounts 
at Messina, I found due to me. I ought to have saved 
more, but horses and other unavoidable expenses, and 
having no time to attend to my own affairs, prevented me 
from being very economical. 

" You must allow that the Ministry are endeavouring to 
be active, and indeed had not some unlocked for circum- 
stance occurred which prevented the evacuation of Egypt 
from taking place sooner, a respectable force would have 
been collected in Sicily four months ago. The great dis- 
advantage in not being able to circulate orders quick is 
the cause of many difficulties. 

" The details of the affair at Buenos Ayres, as we hear it 
through the French papers, are most disgraceful, and from 
the notorious bad character of Whitelock we are inclined 
to believe the whole of them. Most sincerely yours, 


70 GIBRALTAR. [Cn. V. 

Things having advanced so far in Portugal that 
nothing could be done there Lisbon having fallen 
into the hands of the French, and the royal family 
having fled to the Brazils Sir John Moore was 
obliged to bring his force home to England. 
Accordingly, Colborne saw his native shores for the 
first time since June, 1800. 

To Mr. Bargus. 

" Gibraltar, 

" 4th December, 1 807. 

" My dear Sir, We arrived here on the 1st inst, after 
a most tedious passage. I am now only waiting for a fair 
wind to take a cruise in the ' Chiflone ' with Sir John 
Moore ; and it will soon be decided in what manner we are 
to be disposed of. If no military operation takes place 
(which is very probable), I shall have the pleasure of seeing 
you in a few weeks or months. Most affectionately 


" Gibraltar, 

" 1 2th December, 1807. 

" My dear Sir, We returned this morning from off the 
Tagus, and having found that the Prince of Brazils, the 
Court, and the nobility came out to Sir Sidney Smith about 
ten days ago, with nine sail of the line, intending to pro- 
ceed to the Brazils, we are preparing to sail for England 
with the greater part of the force under Sir J. Moore's 
command ; the service for which we were intended is now 
at an end. 

" I am very much pleased that the 2Oth return to Eng- 
land, as I believe I shall not join again as captain. 

" It is very probable we may arrive by the latter end of 

" The French marched into Lisbon, the 4th, 14,000 men. 
Yours most affectionately, 



" St. Helen's [Isle of Wight], 
" ' Euryalus,' 

"2Qth December, 1807. 

" My dear Sir, After a passage of only thirteen days the 
whole of the convoy, consisting of forty sail of transports, 
came to an anchor yesterday evening. We have not yet 
had any communication with the shore, but suppose we 
must remain in quarantine two or three days. 

" It is Sir J. Moore's intention to remain here until he 
receives orders from London. I hope to have the pleasure 
of seeing you at Barkway in eight or nine days. Yours 
most affectionately, 


Enclosure, addressed " Miss Alethea Bargus" 

" St. Helen's, 

" ' Euryalus,' 

" 29th December, 1807. 

" I beg leave to announce to you the following important 
intelligence: 'Yesterday, arrived at St. Helen's, thirteen 
days from Gibraltar, Captain Colborne, 2Oth Regiment. 
The captain is very fat and having slept during the great- 
est part of the passage most profoundly, is supposed to 
have thriven exceedingly on board. Upon the whole, con- 
sidering an absence of nearly eight years from his native 
land, he looks tolerably well.' " 


SWEDEN, 1808. 

COLBORNE announced his arrival in London in the 
following note to his stepfather : 

" Ibbotson's Hotel, 
" Vere-street, 

" 5th January, 1808. 

" My dear Sir, I arrived here last night, but am afraid 
it will not be in my power to see you before Friday. I 
have seen Sir John Moore this morning, but cannot yet 
tell what is to become of us. I rather think we shall soon 
be afloat again. I shall be very happy to accompany 
General Moore, whatever part of the world may be his 
destination. Yours most affectionately, 


On 2ist January, 1808, Colborne gained the rank 
of major in the army. He was now nearly 30. 

The following letter shows that he was anxious to 
obtain also a regimental majority. Colborne had 
no doubt already visited his stepfather and family at 
Barkway, and the strengthening of old ties of affec- 
tion is marked by the fact that his letters henceforth 
are no longer addressed " My dear Sir," but " My 
dear Mr. Bargus." Preparations for a new expedi- 
tion were as will be seen already being made. 


" Ibbotson's Hotel, 
" i yth March. 

My dear Mr. Bargus, On my arrival here I found that 
Colonel Clephane had nearly concluded a bargain with 
a Major Campbell, of the 4ist Regiment, relative to the 
disposal of his commission, the final arrangement was to 
take place on Thursday. I immediately, therefore, set off 
to General Moore and mentioned the state of the case. 
He received me very kindly, and assured me that should 
Wallace decline in my favour, he would do everything in 
his power to assist me. I went down to Brabourne Lees 
and explained the nature of my visit to Major Wallace. I 
was not long in ascertaining his determination, for after a 
short conversation he fairly told me he would much rather 
see a stranger come into the regiment than allow a junior 
officer to pass over his head. So thus ends the affair, and 
perhaps it may yet turn out better for me, should we be 
employed in the spring. 

" I found it necessary to return to London ; my old 
friends at Brabourne seemed all very happy to see me, and 
had I not lately been at Barkway, I could have fancied my 
regiment another home. 

" Will you have the goodness to despatch Kingsley with 
my horse to London, so that he may arrive at the Found- 
ling Hospital by six o'clock to-morrow evening ? I merely 
mention that place because it is probable he may know it 
I will meet him there. It is my intention to ride to Bra- 
bourne, and I shall leave town on Saturday morning. The 
horse I have at the regiment is so hot and unsteady that 
it will be some time before I shall be able to mount him 
at a parade. 

" Notwithstanding all you see in the newspaper, I have 
reason to think that no commander is yet fixed on for the 
expedition, nor any regiment appointed, but believe that 
most of the regular regiments will be employed in two 

" General Whitelock's trial* is finished The paper 

* For misconduct at Buenos Ay res. 


gives a very imperfect account of it He read part of his 
defence on Monday, beginning with an ill-judged attack 
on the Judge-Advocate, Mr. Ryder, accusing him with 
tampering with his aides-de-camp. He endeavoured to 
prove that General Gore* caused the failure of the expedi- 
tion, and said that General Craufurd did not execute his 
orders. General Craufurd was present and Colonel Birch 
opposite to him, enjoying the charge against him. White- 
lock looked angrily and in a very significant manner at 
General Moore, whenever he thought he had answered 
any of his questions. He called on General White for a 
character, the very person who must have been acquainted 
with his conduct at St. Domingo, t He wept exceedingly, 
but the tears appeared to proceed from passion, and being 
exhausted he was obliged to sit down. Lewis, his brother- 
in-law, and General Maude read the rest of his defence. 
People think he has not refuted a single charge. The 
judge-advocate's observations when the defence was 
finished were excellent, and must have been very cutting 
to General Whitelock. He stated that if ever there was a 
time that called for the Commander-in-Chief exposing his 
own person, it was during that attack, but that he, instead 
of using any exertion, remained in a situation where the 
tops of the nearest houses could scarcely be seen, and 
slunk back half a mile to the rear in the evening. If I can 
procure a pamphlet of the trial I will send it you. Believe 
me, most affectionately yours, 


" Brabourne Lees, 

"28th March, 1808. 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, I like this quarter very much, 
but am singular in my opinion. We are completely 

* Leweson-Gower. 

f In San Domingo in 1794 Whitelocke tried to gain Port de la Paix 
by bribing its commander, who indignantly challenged him to single 
combat. See Annual Register, 1794, pp. 174, 175. Shortly after- 
wards Whitelocke was superseded by Brigadier-General Whyte. 


separated from the non-combatants the nearest town is 
Ashford, five miles from us ; Hythe is seven. They 
could not have chosen a more proper situation to inure 
troops to the more northern climate of Sweden, should we 
be intended for that service. It is extremely cold, but the 
old bones of our men seem to bear the change well ; I 
have not seen them look better for many years. We have 
been obliged to discharge fifty, totally unfit for service. 

" Yesterday I had a letter from Sir John Moore. No 
news. The Sicilian mail has arrived and has brought me 
some letters ; our popularity in Sicily becomes less and 
less daily. The few friends we had have deserted us since 
the Russian war. Scylla, I am afraid, is taken. Yours 
most affectionately, 


From Brabourne Lees Miss Alethea Bargus 
received an Italian letter from her half-brother, 
dated "28 di Marzo" and signed " Vostro fratello 
affettuosissimo. J. COLBORNE." 

In his letter to Mr. Bargus of 28th March, Col- 
borne had mentioned Sweden as the destination of 
the new expedition. The British Government, with 
the intention of assisting the King of Sweden against 
a Russian invasion, collected some 10,000 troops, 
which sailed from Yarmouth Roads on roth May, 
under Sir John Moore's command. Colborne was 
again military secretary to the general, who had as an 
aide-de-camp Colonel Graham, afterwards Lord 
Lynedoch. The fleet reached Gottenburgh between 
the 1 7th and 2Oth May. General Moore and most 
of his staff resided on shore, but the King of Sweden 
refused to allow the troops to land, and claimed that 
they should be at his own disposal. After communi- 
cating with England, Sir John Moore started for 

76 IN SWEDEN. [Cn. VI. 

Stockholm on the I2th June. Colborne, who 
accompanied him, wrote the following letter soon 
after his arrival in the capital: 

" Stockholm, 

" i gth June. 

" My dear Alethea, I have but a few minutes to write 
to you, but as a messenger is about to be despatched direct 
to England, I will just say that I have not suffered much 
from our arduous campaign. 

" What a pleasant way of travelling ! without trouble 
or expense. General Moore is at present residing in this 
capital, where he was obliged to come on business. The 
army is still at Gottenburgh. 

" I am much pleased with every part of Sweden I have 
seen. We travelled in an open chaise from Gottenburgh 
to Stockholm in fifty-nine hours. The roads are excellent, 
the country covered with beautiful woods. 

"We passed several large lakes, the Winer and Malar, 
&c. The peasants are the best people I have seen in any 
country; strictly honest and very civil. They are all 
dressed in the old costume such as might have been worn 
in England about two centuries ago. 

" At Gottenburgh I was acquainted with a very pleasant 
family. The ladies in it were so beautiful that I really 
believe I am smitten, so instead of returning covered with 
wounds from a hard campaign, should you not be surprised 
to see me groaning with une Suedoise, and hobbling from 
the load of a wife instead of the spoils taken from the 
enemy ? 

" Stockholm is the most quiet metropolis in the world 
you would conceive yourself in a village on entering it, 
but its situation is different from any other town I have 
seen. The Old Town is on an island and the suburb is 
the most fashionable quarter to reside in. It is a most 
delightful scene all around us I have not time to describe 
its beauties but what has above all repaid me for my 
journey is that I have grasped the swords of Gustavus 


Vasa and Gustavus Adolphus, and worn the hat of Charles 
the 1 2th. This is an honour which I never expected to 
have had. It is light enough to read the whole of the 
night. I am now very anxious to get as far as Tornea, 
where the sun is seen nearly the whole 24 hours. I wish 
much to be frozen up here the winter, but am afraid it 
will not be the case. Most affectionately yours." 

Colborne apparently did not succeed in making 
the journey to Tornea. In later years he gave the 
following particulars of his time in Stockholm, which 
show that his zeal for improving every occasion had 
not abated : " As we thought we should stay in 
Sweden for some time I worked hard at Swedish. I 
used to get up at four o'clock to study it. My 
teacher was a young man named Anderson, who 
was living in the same house. I did not find it very 
difficult. I liked Stockholm very much. It was a 
very gay capital." 

The whole business, however, degenerated into 
farce. The King of Sweden, who was all but a 
madman, wished to employ Moore on wild schemes 
of his own, and when Moore declared that he was 
compelled by his instructions to return to England, 
the king practically put him under arrest. Sir John, 
leaving Colborne behind him, then escaped incog- 
nito to his fleet, which he reached on 29th June. 
Colonel Murray left Stockholm later, on the 27th. 
The fleet sailed from Gottenburgh on 3rd July. 
Colborne had succeeded in joining it the day before,* 
having left Stockholm on the 29th. They anchored 
in the Downs on the i5th, and next morning were 

* Colborne's diary shows that Sir G. Napier is wrong in saying 
that Colborne overtook the fleet at sea. Early Military Life of Sir 
G. N., p. 42. 

78 IN SWEDEN. [Cn. VI. 

ordered to proceed to Portsmouth on another 

Colborne told this story in later years: "When 
we were in Sweden, the king sent an invitation to 
Sir G. Murray to dinner. As the king had insulted 
Sir John Moore he was going to decline, but the 
aide-de-camp said, ' The king said if Colonel 
Murray did not come he would send a file of soldiers 
to make him ; and you may be sure he will do it! ' "* 

To Mr. Bargus. 

" H.M.S. ' Audacious/ 

" i6tK July. 

" My dear Sir, Once more we are in a British port. 
General Moore is going this moment to town. We all go 
round to Portsmouth, and are now getting under weigh. 
We expect to be in Spain in a few weeks. I have a long 
story to tell you about Sweden. We were very near being 
detained prisoners at Stockholm. Most affectionately 


"H.M.S. 'Audacious/ Dover Roads, 

" i;th July. 

" My dear Alethea, We arrived in the Downs from 
Gottenburgh on the I5th. We found orders for us to go 
to Portsmouth, from whence we shall sail, I believe, as 
soon as the transports can be victualled. General Moore 
is gone to town, but I expect to find him at Portsmouth by 
the time the fleet reaches that place. 

" I hope you received my short letter from Stockholm. 

* Colonel Murray (afterwards Sir George Murray) was invited by 
the king on the 26th June. The invitation was declined, but Colonel 
Murray did see the king the same day. See An Historical Sketch of 
the Last Years of Gustavus IV., Adolphus, London, 1812, which con- 
tains the correspondence and accounts of the interviews between Moore 
and the king. 


My adventures in that part of the world, after I had written 
to you, were numerous and extraordinary, and I look on 
myself as very fortunate in getting away. You will have 
seen by the paper some account of Sir John Moore's 
leaving Stockholm; part of it is true, and as I remained 
a few days after him at Stockholm, it was thought probable 
that the foolish King of Sweden would have been ridiculous 
enough to have stopped the suite of the general, but we 
managed to get away without being discovered. 

" I am afraid we shall not meet before I leave England. 
This first expedition has finished but badly ; indeed, there 
was nothing to be done in the Baltic, so perhaps it is 
better that this force still remains entire. Yours 



CINTRA, 1808. 

ON his return from Sweden Sir John Moore learnt 
that he was to carry his troops at once to Portugal, 
the British Government having determined to assist 
the Spaniards and Portuguese to throw off the yoke 
of Napoleon. But in this expedition Moore w r as not 
to be in supreme command, but to serve under Sir 
Hew Dalrymple and Sir Harry Burrard. Moore 
protested against this " unworthy treatment," but 
submitted to it like a soldier. 

What Colborne thought of it we see in the 
following letter, undated, but evidently written from 
Spithead between 25th July, when General Burrard 
arrived, and 3ist July, when the fleet sailed from 
St. Helen's: 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, I must write to you before I 
leave England to inform you of the changes that have 
ta,ken place. Sir John Moore, from the intrigues and dirty 
cabals of Ministers, is not thought worthy to be entrusted 
with the chief command, nor even to be second in com- 
mand. Sir Hew Dalrymple is to command the army when 
united, Sir H. Burrard is second in command. The 
Ministry have treated Sir John in an infamous manner, 


and have tried to vex him in order that he may not go out 
with us, but he has conducted himself in a temperate and 
dignified manner, telling them that he thought his former 
services entitled him to some respect, that he had raised 
himself by his own exertions to the rank he held without 
mixing in any party or intrigues, that he would go cheer- 
fully on the service he was ordered, and would exert him- 
self with the same zeal and activity in the service of his 
country and King as he had always done when employed. 
The Cabinet sent him a menace that ' had not the military 
arrangements been so far advanced that they could not 
change them without detriment to the service, they would 
relieve him from the unpleasant situation in which he must 
be placed at present, and that the Cabinet would take the 
first opportunity of relating to His Majesty the conversation 
which took place between Sir John Moore and Lord 
Castlereagh in London ' (for he had told him his sentiments 
and what he felt). Sir John answered that he had already 
fully expressed his sentiments to Lord Castlereagh, that 
a repetition would be needless, that he should proceed on 
the service he was ordered without the least objection, but 
that it gave him great pleasure that it was the intention 
of the Ministry to lay the whole before His Majesty, as he 
should be in most perfect security in the justice of the 
King, and had the firmest reliance in trusting his honour, 
conduct, and reputation in His Majesty's hands. This 
cuts short the correspondence ; they are afraid to recall 
him, for he had documents that would make them tremble, 
were he to produce them. The fact is, no man has more 
merit and none more enemies, even among the generals 
of high rank. They have not the sense to hold their 
tongues, but you may be assured Sir John Moore is the 
only soldier good for anything amongst the whole set, 
with very few exceptions. Sir John, immediately he knew 
his situation, offered to get me in the Quartermaster- 
General's department or the Adjutant-General's, but I 
thought it best to refuse both and join my regiment, which 
is on the passage to Portugal or Spain. The former would 


have been a more comfortable and easy situation, and a 
much more profitable one as to pay but the latter more 
honourable, I think, particularly as I belong to such a 
regiment as the Twentieth. Sir John was pleased with my 
choice, and hoped I should be a lieutenant-colonel the 
sooner for it I certainly shall learn more as a major, and 
have no doubt but that I shall do very well. We meet 
with fewer competitors in the field than in the office, and 
I have never found many candidates offer when any real 
service is going on. I am convinced Sir J. Moore will be 
my friend as long as he lives, and I do not wish a better, 
for he must rise again in spite of their cabals. I go with 
him on board the ' Audacious/ and shall join the regiment 
where I find it. Sir Harry Burrard sent for me to-day 
and begged I would carry on the business until Sir H. 
Dalrymple took the command. I told him that my object 
was to join my regiment, and thera could not be much 
business until we arrived, but if it would facilitate business 
or be any convenience to him, I shoujd be happy to remain 
in the situation until I fell in with the regiment. I was 
anxious to explain to him that it was doing me no sort of 
favour, but merely for his convenience. Indeed, if it had 
not been so, I do not suppose that it would have been 
offered to me. But, however, it is settled that I embark 
with him and Sir J. Moore, and for the present I remain. 

" We go to Portugal to attack Junot first. If the busi- 
ness has been executed by Sir A. Wellesley previous to our 
arrival, we proceed to Spain and act according to circum- 
stances. The Spaniards, I am sorry to say, have been 
beaten with the loss of thirteen pieces of cannon near 

" We are to sail to-morrow, they say. I do not think we 
shall. You may venture to write to me the same direc- 
tions as usual, ' Mil. Sec. to Sir John Moore, H.M.S. 
" Audacious." ' I took a walk the other night after dinner 
to Fareham and called on Dr. Bogue. Miss Bargus made 
her appearance ; she said I was very much like Delia. As 
it was quite dark (about half-past nine o'clock) she might 


have imagined it, so I agreed with her that everyone thought 
so. They were all very civil and attentive, John Bogue 
as erect as a bed-post, but full of fine speeches and com- 
pliments. Yours most affectionately, 


The fleet sailed from St. Helen's on 3ist July. 
On 1 6th August Sir Harry Burrard went on, ordering 
Moore to lay to till he received further orders. 
Meanwhile, another portion of the expedition, under 
Sir Arthur Wellesley, having left Cork on i2th 
July, had already landed (6th August) in Mondego 
Bay. This force fought the battle of Roliga on I7th 
August and that of Vimiero on the 2ist. Sir Harry 
Burrard arrived at Vimiero in time to witness Welles- 
ley's defeat of Junot, though his first act of inter- 
position was to forbid any pursuit. Next day he 
was himself superseded by the arrival of Sir Hew 
Dalrymple. Sir Hew, with the concurrence of 
Burrard and Wellesley, now concluded with Junot 
the Convention of Cintra, by which the French were 
embarked with their arms and baggage and sent 
home, and Portugal was restored to independence. 
The Convention excited a storm of indignation in 
England and in Portugal. Sir Hew, Sir Harry and 
Sir Arthur all went home in consequence, and Moore 
received a despatch, dated 25th September, by which 
he was put in chief command of the army to be em- 
ployed in Spain. 

Colborne's next letter gives his impressions of the 
battle of Vimiero and of the Convention that 
followed it. His regiment, the 2Oth, had arrived in 
Mondego Bay on igth August, too late for the 
combat of Roliga, but in time to play its part at 


Vimiero on the 2ist, where it attacked the enemy's 
flank with great gallantry. Colborne, who had sailed 
with Sir Harry Burrard and Sir John Moore, had 
unfortunately not been able to join it before the 
battle. Whether he arrived on the field with Sir 
Harry Burrard in the course of the action, or had 
been left in the fleet with Sir John Moore, is not 

" Camp near Veimira, 
"3rd September, 1808. 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, We are now on the march 
towards Lisbon, where it is said the army will remain 
until the whole of the French are embarked. It seems to 
be the general opinion that they have let them off too 
easily. Sir A. Wellesley advanced as far as Leiyra without 
opposition. On the i/th ult. his march was opposed by 
4,000 men posted at a strong pass [Rolic^a], many officers 
think that our army might have forced it with less loss. 
The bull was taken by the horns, and more bravery than 
generalship was shown. However, the French lost near 
1,500 men. Sir Arthur halted at Veimira. His army was 
posted on some rugged hills forming nearly a half circle, 
the centre considerably advanced, and his two flanks 
inclining towards the sea. It was the intention of 
Sir A. to have advanced himself this [that ?] morning 
and attacked the enemy at Torres Vedras, but 
the arrival of Sir H. Burrard in the bay prevented 
him. Junot having left his position in the night, arrived 
in the woods about Veimira early in the morning. 
His army having halted to breakfast, he commenced a 
furious attack on the centre and left about 9 a.m., but the 
conduct of our men was so steady and spirited that neither 
of the columns of the enemy gained an inch at any part of 
the action. He was repulsed with great loss, some say 
4,000, leaving 1 6 or 17 pieces of cannon on the field. This 
was the time to have destroyed his whole army, our right 


had not fired a shot ; indeed there were 7,000 men not 
engaged. Sir Arthur, seeing the enemy retiring in con- 
fusion, wished to have advanced his right, intending to cut 
off their retreat (this is what people say and I believe it, 
for almost any general would have done so), but tile evil 
genius of the army sent Sir H. B. on the field during the 
action, and although he did not interfere while the battle 
was going on, yet he would not agree to any pursuit The 
next day the enemy requested a suspension of hostilities. 
We are ignorant of the terms of the capitulation, but the 
French are allowed to return to France ; they should have 
all been sent to England. The Russians, of course, 
become prisoners, with seven sail of the line and four or five 
frigates. I presume the lenity of our general will be as- 
cribed to his wish to employ this army immediately in 
another quarter. I hope there will be no delay. 

" The weather has been unfavourable, very hot during 
the day and heavy rain at night. We have no camp 
equipage, but the country being woody, we erect huts, 
which answer very well when it does not rain. 

"I will write to you from Lisbon. Most affectionately 

"J. C." 

Colborne had a story in later years in regard to the 
Convention of Cintra. Before it was signed, Sir 
Hew Dalrymple was discussing its terms with 
General Kellermann, at Coimbra, and, to obtain better 
terms, was insisting that the fleet containing Sir 
Harry Burrard's army was already in sight off Oporto. 
At this moment Sir James Douglas rushed into the 
Toom, and to Sir Hew's infinite annoyance, ex- 
claimed, very mat a propos, " I have been looking 
out for the last two hours and the fleet is nowhere in 
sight." General Kellermann related this story on the 
ship on which he was afterwards conveyed to France, 
and said that Sir James Douglas's speech had 


enabled him to rise considerably in his demands. 
General Kellermann suffered dreadfully from sea 
sickness on that voyage, and one of the navy officers 
used to say to him in the midst of his paroxysms, 
" Ah, General, if I only had you now at Coimbra, I 
should get better terms from you." 

The following stories relate to the same time : 

" General Hervey, at Lisbon, asked Junot if the 
famous anecdote was true, that when he was acting 
as secretary to Napoleon, and a shell burst near him, 
he quietly remarked, * Voila de la poudre ' [i.e., 
' There's powder for blotting the ink.']. Junot 
replied, ' The emperor wanted to write an order, and 
called out, " What, is there no one here who can 
write ? " I came forward, and it is true that as I was 
writing a shell burst very near us, and I may have 
said, " Voila de la poudre!' 

:< When Lord Paget was presented to Junot he 
was in a general officer's uniform, at that time a very 
unbecoming dress, and Junot, going up to Graham, 
said, ' fat toujours suppose que Lord Paget etait 
le plus beau garcon d'Angleterre, mais je ne le crois 
pas du tout! However, when next day he came to 
dine in his splendid Hussar uniform, Junot changed 
his mind. ' Ah, il faut avouer a present quil est 
ires -beau! 

" After the conclusion of the Convention I was 
selected to carry to Elvas General Kellermann's 
order for the surrender of that important fortress. I 
rode with it night and day, Elvas being 130 miles 
from Lisbon. At Estremoz, about 30 miles from 
Elvas, I was surprised, at a turn of the road, to see 
a number of armed men just before me, my orderly 


riding up at the same time and saying, ' I don't like 
the looks of these men, Sir.' The people had mis- 
taken me for a Frenchman as they saw me approach- 
ing, and had ridden out to capture me. Resistance 
was useless, and I was led in triumph into the town, 
hooted and pelted at, and only thankful to escape 
without a pistol ball through my head. The mere 
loss of time was most provoking. Fortunately there 
was a French emigre officer in the town, attached to 
the Spanish army. He immediately saw the mis- 
take, and called out from a balcony, ' This is not a 
Frenchman, my friends ; this is an English officer/ 
I informed this friend-in-need of the object of my 
mission ; and the anger of the Spaniards was con- 
verted into friendship. I was taken up into the 
Governor's house and regaled with coffee and cake, 
and a body of Spaniards escorted me to Elvas. 

"The Spanish army was lying encamped round 
Elvas. When I requested an escort the Spanish 
general was delighted to grant it, assuring me that 
it was * con mucho gusto ' that he heard that Elvas 
was to be given up. The fort of Elvas was situ- 
ated on a hill, very much like Fort Abraham, a 
glacis sloping away regularly and fortified at the 
corners. It was the most beautiful work in Europe.* 
As I advanced with my flag of truce I was seen from 
the fortress, but as a matter of form a party was sent 

* Sir W. Gomm wrote Aug. 4th, 1810 : " The fortification of Elvas 
is the most interesting thing I have ever seen. There are three hills ; 
upon the centre one stands Elvas and its castle ; on the right, looking 
towards Badajos, stands a fort which commands great part of the works 
of Elvas ; and on the other side, upon much higher ground and com- 
manding everything, stands the impregnable Fort La Lippe. Nothing 
but starvation ought to dispossess a garrison of Elvas." Carr-Gomm's 
Letters, &c. t of Sir W. Gomm, 1881, p. 178. 


lo meet me with pointed muskets, and I was marched 
blindfold up a steep hill into the presence of the 
governor, or commandant, an engineer officer named 
Girod. A Swiss officer, who was second in com- 
mand, was sitting in the same room. This Swiss 
said to me, * Directly I saw you I was sure the 
French had had the worst of it. However, whatever 
misfortunes occur, I shall remain faithful to the em- 
peror, though not obliged to be so.' On which 
Girod remarked to me in an ' aside/ ' Quelle bete!' 1 
"When I showed General Girod the paper in 
General Kellermann's hand ordering him to give up 
the. town, he looked at it and said, ' // faut penser 
deux fois before giving up a fortress of this import- 
ance.' So I was in a great rage, and said, ' Why, 
look there, don't you see General Kellermann's hand 
and seal ? ' ' Oh, yes, I see that, but these things 
are sometimes forged.' So at last I said, ' Well, will 
you let me go into the town of Elvas, and get post- 
horses, and I will take any officer you like down to 
Lisbon to judge for you?' He said he would let 
me do that, and accordingly the gates were opened 
and I went in, and was kissed and embraced by 
every lady (and gentleman too) whom I met. They 
were delighted to see an Englishman ; it was a sign 
to them that their troubles were over. So I had a 
very good breakfast, and then, in two hours' time, 
set off again to ride back to Lisbon to obtain con- 
firmation of Kellermann's order. It is astonishing 
how one gets used to riding all day ; one feels as if 
one would never wish to sleep. Though I had 
already ridden a great distance, now, in going back, 
I was keeping up the same pace. 


' The poor French officer, after being so long shut 
up in a besieged town, was soon knocked up, and 
did not at all approve of the rapid rate at which I 
travelled. He was constantly wanting to stop for 
rest and refreshments, but I was determined he 
should not; I was determined to work him. I 
myself, as was usual with me on such journeys, par- 
took of nothing but tea, which I carried in my 
pocket, and bread which I obtained in the villages. 
The French officer said, ' You do not exemplify the 
proverb, " Boire comme un anglais! " ' I always 
thought the proverb was " Boire comme un alle- 
mand! " 5 I replied. 

" How well I remember the scene at Kellermann's 
when we reached Lisbon! He was in such a rage 
at the scrupulousness of M. Girod. ' What, did he 
not see my handwriting? I'll have none of his 
tricks. His folly will detain us here five or six days 
longer than necessary. Go back, sir, directly with 
this officer, and ask him to give up the town 
immediately.' I made no hesitation about return- 
ing, but the French officer, on being ordered to 
accompany me, begged to be excused. ' Monsieur, 
jc suis si fatigue' ' How is it this English officer 
can ride double the distance without being tired ? ' 
exclaimed Kellermann, in anger. ' Oh, il est 
anglais? ' Go, then, and desire a cavalry officer 
to get ready to go/ I had again only two hours' rest. 

" When I reached Elvas a new difficulty had 
arisen. The Spaniards claimed that the fortress 
should be surrendered to them, and not to us, and 
they were now blockading it. Before, the French 
would not come out ; now, the Spaniards would not 


let them. (The Portuguese said afterwards that the 
Spaniards did it in order that they might destroy the 
works.) I had to ride back to Lisbon for fresh orders. 
At Lisbon I was instructed to ride to Badajos, to 
obtain from Galluzzo, the Spanish general there, the 
order that Elvas was to surrender to the British. 
This time I had the company of Colonel Thomas 
Graham (afterwards Lord Lynedoch). It was the 
first time I ever saw Badajos." 

Lynedoch's diary supplies some additional 
details.* They started on 24th September, 
travelled all night, but met with delays at every 
post. For one stage they were so badly mounted 
that they had eleven falls between them, which 
created great merriment. On the 25th, for want 
of horses, they had to make a stop at Estremoz till 
4 a.m. on the 26th. They breakfasted at Elvas, and 
were supplied by the postmaster with fine horses, 
which they found afterwards belonged to French 
officers. They arrived at Badajos very wet at 
2 p.m. They saw General Galluzzo twice, and after 
hearing from him " the most absurd language on the 
subject of his pretensions as a besieger," obtained 
the order and took it next day to Elvas, where they 
obtained the surrender of Fort La Lippe. The 
town itself had been previously surrendered to the 

From Elvas Colonel Graham went on to Madrid, 
while Colborne obtained leave of absence from his 
regiment, now at Elvas, and started alone on a 
romantic ride towards Calahorra, the headquarters 
of the Spanish army of General Castanos. From 

* Life by Delayoye, p. 268. 


this characteristic adventure he was recalled by Sir 
John Moore when the latter succeeded to the 
supreme command. 

On his return he wrote the letter which follows : 

" Lisbon, 

" i ;th October, 1808, 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, I am as usual in a violent hurry. 
We are to commence our march towards Spain in two 
days. Behold me once more a knignt of the quill. Sir 
John Moore, you will have heard, is appointed to com- 
mand 40,000 men in Spain. This appointment has given 
great satisfaction to the army, and it certainly must be 
highly flattering to himself, for you must well know that 

M [Ministers] have been certainly driven to it ; and 

why? Because they could find no one else fit for the 
situation. We have a long march before us to Burgos 
and Vittoria. 

" I had proceeded as far as Canaveral on my way to 
Salamanca, and in consequence of having had several 
very narrow escapes and many adventures (for I 
was pursued through every village and constantly taken 
for a Frenchman whether there was anything in my 
appearance against me, or that the ugly face of my ser- 
vant did not please the peasants, I know not, but I con- 
ceived it must be the latter), I determined to return to the 
frontiers of Portugal, to leave him at Elvas, and take a 
Spanish peasant acquainted with the roads as my squire. 
On my going through a town called Albuquerque I met 
an officer who brought me Sir John Moore's letter relating 
to the extraordinary change that has taken place. I 
managed to arrive at Lisbon forty-eight hours afterwards. 
You may now direct to me ' Military Secretary, &c.' 

" The enthusiasm prevalent in Spain is beyond what I 
expected. I really do not think a Frenchman will be able 
to pass through that country for many years, either in peace 
or war. Most affectionately yours, 

-j. c- 


Some further details of Colborne's ride in quest 
of Castanos are given in the following extract from 
a letter (to Miss Townsend) of the 9th March, 
1809: * 

" Immediately after the Convention I obtained leave of 
absence, and putting on the Helmet of Mambrino, entered 
Spain unshackled, for the first time completely inde- 
pendent, chief in command; in fact, my own master. I 
was resolved not to be traced, and pushed straight across 
the country for Calhorra, the headquarters of Castanos. I 
proceeded about 50 leagues, but met with so many inter- 
ruptions from the ignorant and inquisitive peasantry, and 
either my own physiognomy or that of my servant was so 
much against us, that we scarce passed through a village 
unmolested, and were daily examined by the cure of the 
parish, or corregidor, amidst a barbarous mob. This was 
intolerable, and I returned to Elvas, determined to leave 
my servant and take a Spaniard as compagnon de voyage. 
It was there I received a note from my unfortunate friend 
that he was appointed to the command, and wishing me to 
join him at Lisbon. Although at the time he received 
the appointment nothing was prepared, yet the different 
columns were in motion in seven days." 

Colborne seems to have resumed his duties as 
military secretary to Sir John on the I7th October. 

( 93 ) 





MOORE waited at Lisbon till the 27th October, when 
the several divisions of his army had moved off. 
On the 8th November he was at Almeida, on the 
nth at Ciudad Rodrigo, on the I3th at Salamanca, 
where he halted, intending that place to be the 
rendezvous of all his forces. Even now he wrote, 
" The moment is a critical one : my own situation 
is particularly so : I have never seen it otherwise ; 
but I have pushed into Spain at all hazards : this 
was the order of my Government, and it was the will 
of the people of England."* He had then only three 
brigades of infantry with him; the rest would take 
ten days to assemble, and Burgos and Valladolid, at 
three days' march distance, were occupied or 
menaced by the French army. He at once sent 
orders to Baird and Hope to march with all speed 
to Salamanca, the former from Corunna, the latter 
from Madrid. 

* Moore 's Campaign, p. 25. 


Colborne used to contrast Moore's behaviour 
during his stay at Salamanca with that of Keller- 
mann when he was staying at Lisbon. " At Sala- 
manca, Moore was in the house of a very rich 
man, but he desired his own major domo to provide 
everything he required. When the gentleman heard 
this he said he would not allow it ; if they stayed in 
his house he would provide everything. Sir John 
Moore said, ' Impossible ! I am going to have 
people with me every day. I cannot think of putting 
you to so much expense.' ' Well, if you will not let 
me give you everything,' he replied, ' you shall not 
stay in my house,' and Sir John Moore was forced 
to submit. It was the custom of the French 
generals, when they were in a town, to quarter them- 
selves on someone, and make him supply everything, 
even wine. At the time of the Convention of Cintra, 
Kellermann was living in Lisbon in a man's house, 
and the man, hearing of the Convention, had locked 
up his cellar and gone out. Kellermann had asked 
Paget and myself to dine, and after dinner no wine 
was forthcoming, and Kellermann was told the 
reason the master of the house had locked up the 
cellar. ' Quon force la porte? he said. Perhaps 
the servants then found the key. At any rate, we 
had plenty of good wine." 

To return to the story. Moore, as has been said, 
had ordered Baird and Hope to join him with all 
speed at Salamanca. But as one Spanish army after 
another was defeated, and it was plainly hopeless for 
the British army alone, even if united, to withstand 
the vastly greater forces of Napoleon, Moore and his 
staff came to see no way before them but retreat. 


In this gloomy situation Colborne wrote the following 

letters : 

" Salamanca, 

"26th November, 1808. 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, We have been here about a 
week, collecting our force. Owing to the badness of the 
roads, the cavalry and artillery were obliged to march by 
a different route,* and we are very much separated. 

" Take your map. We have 14,000 men at Salamanca, 
4,000 at Escorial, and Sir David Baird at Astorga. The 
French are at Valladolid, and they have beat General 
Blake, dispersed his army, and have defeated the Estre- 
madura army. I am afraid they will attack us before we 
are united. They have about 80,000 men in Spain, or 

" Remember me to Mrs. B., Alethea, Fanny and Maria, 
and believe me, my dear Mr. Bargus, yours affectionately, 


" Salamanca, 

"2;th November, 1808. 

"My dear Mr. Bargus, Since my last letter a third 
army has been defeated, the Aragoneese.f I fear we shall 
not be able to unite. The Spaniards are a fine people, 
but have fallen into bad hands, not a person fit to direct 
them. I rather think we must retire on Portugal. We 
expect to be attacked in our turn. Nothing can be more 

" Remember me to Mrs. Bargus, and Fanny and Maria. 
I remain, most affectionately yours, 

"J. C. 

" Dear Alethea, I am quite ashamed I have not written 
to you, but in better times you shall hear from me. Yours 
most affectionately." 

* i.e., Hope's force, which marched by Madrid, 
f Palafox's. 


Next day arrived the news of the defeat of 
Castafios' army. This made Moore's course plain 
to him. He wrote on the 28th to Baird that he had 
determined to retreat upon Portugal with his own 
corps and with Hope's, if Hope could join him by 
forced marches, and he directed Baird to fall back 
on Corunna and thence to sail to the Tagus. But, 
deceived by information of growing enthusiasm in 
Madrid, on 6th December (when Madrid, though he 
knew it not, had already fallen) he countermanded 
his former order,* and bade Baird return to Astorga. 
Hope was now in the neighbourhood of Salamanca, 
so* Moore's position was altogether more secure. On 
7th December Moore was joined by Hope's divi- 
sion ; on the 2Oth, having advanced to Mayorga, he 
effected a junction with Baird's. He had now 
24,000 men, and moved against Soult with the in- 
tention of drawing Napoleon after him. His plan 
succeeded. Napoleon, who had taken Madrid on 
4th December, on hearing of Moore's advance, made 
against him with 1 80,000 men. Having gained his 
point, Moore commenced his famous retreat, wnicn 
ended, after innumerable hardships, with the suc- 
cessful stand against Soult at Corunna on i6th 
January, and Sir John Moore's own death. 

* This change of plans was due in part to finding that the French 
had not already taken Valladolid, as he had been informed. Gomm, 
who was sent there to find out the truth, brought back this com- 
paratively cheering news. " By evening I was entering Sir John 
Moore's quarters with the report. Colonel Colborne, then military 
secretary, looking half incredulous and something more at first of the 
fact of Valladolid having been really reached [by me], but hastening 
with the letter to his anxious chief, secured him a balmier rest through 
its contents than he had for many a night enjoyed." Carr Gomm's 
Letters, &c., of Sir W. Gomm (1881), p. 114. 

x8o8.1 BENAVENTE. 97 

Colborne told the following stories of the 
retreat : 

" On the morning of the cavalry affair at Bena- 
vente (291)1 December) I happened to be detained 
behind the staff. My horse was already at the tent- 
door, and my servant packing, when a dragoon came 
galloping by with his sword drawn. My servant 
went out to inquire the reason, and returned saying, 
' The French are crossing the ford, Sir ! ' So, 
instead of following the staff, I immediately galloped 
to the scene of action. 

" It was an immense plain. The French were 
crossing the river and our cavalry waiting to receive 
them. Lord Paget, who commanded, galloped up 
twirling his moustachios, and said, ' You see, there 
are not many of them.' I remained by his side 
during the action, which lasted some hours and 
ended in the repulse of the French without much 
loss on our side. 

" After the action, when Lord Paget was reporting 
the affair to Sir John Moore, he suddenly turned 
round and said, * But there's your military secretary ; 
he was there, and knows all about it,' to Sir John 
Moore's astonishment, who had not the least idea 
of the manner in which his military secretary had 
been employed. Graham said, ' You must have the 
gift of second sight, Colborne, and that was the 
reason you stayed behind ; you knew what was going 
to happen.' I received a clasp for the action." 

In this fight near Benavente the French general, 
Lefebvre Desnouettes, was taken. " I was con- 
sulted by Sir John Moore," said Colborne, "as to 
whether it would be right to ask him for a written 



promise not to escape. I advised not, as I remem- 
bered a French officer in Sicily being much affronted 
at such a request. Sir John Moore said, ' I am glad 
you told me this. Of course, I will not ask/ and as 
Lefebvre had surrendered his sword Sir John cour- 
teously presented him with his own. However, 
after Moore's death, Lefebvre broke his parole by 
escaping from England. 

" Once, during a halt on the retreat, Sir John 
Moore had no book, and said to me, ' Come, Col- 
borne, have you no book to amuse me with?' I 
happened to have a copy of Lord Lyttelton's 
Memoirs* with me, and the book greatly entertained 

On 3rd January, near Villafranca, Colonel Graham 
(afterwards Lord Lynedoch) had an almost miracu- 
lous escape from death. Colborne tells the tale 
thus : " A narrow road ran through a ravine, on one 
side of which was a precipice with a river at the 
bottom. There was scarcely room for a horse to 
walk, and the night being very dark, Graham's horse 
stumbled and fell over. I was riding behind him, 
and thought he was gone, but fancied I heard a noise, 
and told a sergeant to put down a pike and sash, and 
so we dragged him up, six or seven of us. With 
great presence of mind he had extricated himself 
from his horse and supported himself by some 
bushes on the side of the precipice. He said after- 
wards he heard someone say, ' Put down a pike and 
sash to him.' "t 

The following story of Colonel Graham probably 

* The Letters of Thomas Lord Lyttelton ? 
f Cp. Delavoye's Life of Lord Lynedoch, p. 294. 

i8o8-9-] COLONEL T. GRAHAM. 99 

relates to this retreat: "Lord Lynedoch, though 
near fifty when he entered the army, had as much 
activity and spirit as the youngest officer. One day, 
towards evening, after a very fatiguing march, I and 
one or two other staff officers were bringing up the 
rear, endeavouring to keep the men together as we 
were descending a hill. We knew that the French 
must be very close on our heels, but men and horses 
were too much exhausted to ride back and ascertain 
how close they were. Presently Lord Lynedoch 
rode up to me and said, * Now, Colborne, should not 
you like to ride up to the top of the hill and see 
exactly where the French are ? ' ' No, thank you/ 
said I, * I am much obliged to you, but even if I 
wished it, my horse really could not do it.' The 
words were hardly out of my mouth before Lord 
Lynedoch was nearly at the top of the hill. 
* What a regular old fox-hunter! } said Sir H. Clinton 
to me." 

Colborne told another story of Lynedoch's energy. 
" Lord Lynedoch was a man who had a pleasure in 
doing anything for anybody, and he was a most 
active, energetic man. Once when he was a mem- 
ber of Parliament, he was in Dublin on an occasion 
when it was of great consequence to have every 
possible vote, and they were saying it would be quite 
impossible for him to arrive in time. So Mr. 
Dundas, who was a great friend of his, said, * Tell 
him he can't do it, and you will be sure to have him 
in time. 5 They did so, and Graham arrived with his 
watch out about a quarter of an hour within the 
time ; and a journey from Dublin was a longer affair 

then by a good deal than it is now." 

E 2 


On 8th January, at Lugo, the British army took 
up a position and expected a French attack, which, 
however, was not made. " Sir John and his staff 
were sitting together in their tent, and Colonel 
Graham, who was always eager for enterprise, said, 
" Well, Sir John, after you have beaten them you will 
take us on in pursuit of them for a few days, won't 
you ? ' ' No/ said Sir John, ' I have had enough of 
Galicia.' ' Oh, just for a few days ! ' 

" On the morning of the battle of Corunna Sir 
John was not aware that the French were so close, 
or that they would venture to attack. He said to me 
only ten minutes before the battle, ' Now, if there is 
no bungling, I hope we shall get away in a few hours.' 
A few minutes after Sir John Hope came with the 
news that the French were advancing in great force, 
and they soon opened a furious cannonade on us 
from the heights." 

So many attacks have been made on Moore's 
generalship, from 1809 to the present time, that it 
is worth while to show that Colborne, no less than 
the historian Napier, for whose history of Moore's 
campaign Colborne supplied much information, was 
among Moore's most thorough admirers.* In an 
(unpublished) review of Southey's History of the 
Peninsular War he thus writes, in 1827, of his 
revered commander: 

"It is our intention to demonstrate, with the aid 

* See also Appendix I. Colborne wrote from Brussels, 3oth August, 
1814, indignantly to refute a statement that he had compared Sir John 
Moore unfavourably with Wellington. " I never have stated or thought 
that Sir John Moore was less decided or less qualified for the command 
of a large army than Lord Wellington." (Cp. p. 365.) Yet, as will 
be seen, he lauded Wellington's generalship to the full. 


of many valuable documents, that the reputation of 
Sir John Moore was basely sacrificed to party spirit, 
and that the attacks with which his character has 
been continually assailed, are as inconsiderate as 
they are unmerited. We, who have followed him 
from early youth and cannot forget his professional 
zeal and devotion to his country, and the estimation 
in which he was held by the army of Holland and of 
Egypt, may not enter on his defence with the cool- 
ness of an historian who compiles from gazettes and 
periodical publications sent forth in the midst of 
tumult and party but we pledge ourselves for the 
accuracy of the statements made. 

:< This General appears to have been visited with 
the extraordinary bad fortune of being placed in a 
series of embarrassing situations, so that he had no 
sooner extricated himself from one than he was 
thrown into another. The first command that was 
offered to him would, had he accepted it, have given 
him the charge of that very absurd operation, the 
taking possession of Alexandria in 1808 [1807?] 
The second to which he was named involved him in 
an unpleasant affair with the Queen of Naples and 
the British Minister at Palermo ; the third made him 
responsible for the assembling of a force dispersed 
between Egypt, Sicily and Gibraltar, depending for 
its union on the result of Russian and Turkish 
treaties, but which had in view a service that ad- 
mitted of little delay in execution. The fourth sent 
him to Sweden with 10,000 men, on an expedition 
some degrees less ridiculous than the Egyptian one 
planned by the Whig administration, and which 
brought him in collision with the ex-King of 


Sweden. The fifth appears to have been hopeless 
from the first moment of his appointment." 

From the same article we give Colborne's account 
of the close of the campaign : 

" When the army had passed the Esla, and the 
convoy of artillery stores which returned from the 
Ford of St. Juan had reached Benevente, the con- 
tinuation of the retreat could be no longer delayed. 
Two divisions had marched on La Baneza and 
Astorga on the 26th December. Napoleon was 
within a few leagues of the Esla on the 28th, and 
Soult, having received orders to move to Leon, his 
advanced guard appeared in front of the Spaniards 
at Mansilla on that day. 

" The inferiority of the British army, and its 
critical position, would have induced Sir John Moore 
to retire sooner on Astorga than he did, if the am- 
munition and stores could have proceeded on the 
route by which it was intended they should be con- 
veyed. But the officer in charge of the convoy had 
been driven off from his first route, and had, in con- 
sequence of the heavy rains having rendered the 
river impassable, so increased his march that a halt 
at Benevente became necessary. 

" Sir David Baird left Valencia on the 29th, and the 
reserve retired from Benevente the same day. 
Several arches of the bridge of Castro de Gonzalo 
were blown up, and the cavalry occupied Benevente 
with their picquets extended along the right bank of 
the river. 

" A few days after Sir John Moore and the reserve 
had marched from Benevente, General Lefebvre 
Desnouettes, with the chasseurs of the Imperial 

i8o8.] BENAVENTE. 103 

Guard, arrived on the high ground near Castro de 
Gonzalo, and observing the picquets on the plain 
below apparently unsupported, imagined that only 
a rearguard of cavalry might be left in Benevente. 
The peasants having shown him a ford, he deter- 
mined to press on. He passed the river rapidly, 
formed on the right bank, and advanced in echelon 
towards the town. 

' The picquets, which had assembled on the first 
alarm, opposed his march by disputing the ground 
with his leading squadron, and reinforced by a part 
of the hussars of the German Legion, retarded his 
progress. Lord Paget, who arrived on the plain 
soon after the Imperial Guards had passed the river, 
ordered the picquets to retire slowly in order to draw 
the enemy on towards the town till the loth Hussars 
could be brought up. 

" Without any means of ascertaining what support- 
ing force might be preparing to cross from the left 
bank of the Esla, it appeared no easy matter to 
decide how far the enemy should be allowed to 
advance. The loth Hussars, however, were formed 
in line not 100 yards from his left flank before 
Lefebvre discovered his error, and that he had been 
drawn on skilfully by his opponent till the interval 
between the loth and the picquets and the leading 
squadron of the chasseurs was so much diminished 
that their escape was scarcely possible. At this 
moment Lord Paget charged with the whole of the 
loth. Lefebvre, perceiving the force against him, 
had just time to wheel about and to retire at full 

" The race was so equal that for a few minutes it 


was doubtful whether the enemy's mass gained dis- 
tance or not, but fortunately for the chasseurs, the 
left of the pursuing squadrons, in endeavouring to 
get on their flank, passed over less favourable ground 
for the charge than that on which the former moved. 
This circumstance alone prevented the entire cap- 
ture of the chasseurs. All that were badly mounted, 
and among them General Lefebvre, were overtaken 
and made prisoners. The greater part forded the 
river in confusion and made an effort to form up on 
the left bank, but after a few rounds from our horse 
artillery they retreated. The cavalry remained at 
Benevente till the evening. The reserve marched 
in two days to Astorga, which the cavalry reached on 
the 3 1 st. 

"The 30th the bridge over the Esla was made 
passable, and the enemy occupied Benevente in 
force. The corps, under Soult's orders, marched 
from Palencia and Paredes on Mansilla to join the 
troops moving from the Carrion. 

:{ The branches of the Asturian Mountains which 
project to the southward run behind Astorga, and 
thence form a chain to the westward with the Sierra 
Segundera and De Mamed. This barrier and the 
mountains of Galicia are formidable to an enemy, 
but had we attempted to defend the passes and 
Galicia in the winter by placing a regular army in 
position without cover or supplies in a country 
exhausted by the continual passage of troops, it must 
have been exposed to such fatigue and privations 
as would have occasioned its destruction. 

" Near Astorga the ground is not sufficiently 
favourable to induce an inferior army to wait the 


attack of an accumulating force or risk an action. 
At Foncebadon, one of the points of defence of this 
mountainous district, an enemy might be opposed 
with advantage ; but no important object was to be 
gained by halting there and defending that pass. 
The Galicias may be penetrated by roads from 
Zamora, Benevente and Braganza to Puebla de 
Sanabria, and thence by the Val de Jares and the 
valley of the Sil to Lugo. Magazines and cover for 
the troops would have been required had Sir John 
Moore halted, and the enemy, being able to choose 
his time of attack, would have compelled him to 
abandon the mountains, when his combinations might 
have rendered a retreat impracticable. 

' The Marquis de Romana proposed to defend 
Astorga. He was without provisions, he had but 
5,000 men fit for service, and no means of procuring 
supplies, and if he had remained near the British 
army would have proved only an encumbrance. 

' Thrown back on an accidental line of operations, 
without being able to fix precisely his base and what 
kind of defensive movements should be followed, 
depending on the efforts of the enemy and his 
demonstrations of force, Sir John Moore was per- 
suaded that he could not maintain himself in Galicia 
with advantage to the Spaniards or without risking 
the destruction of his army. To defend a pass a 
considerable corps must be posted near it, prepared 
to meet the mass of the enemy. Therefore the only 
question to be considered was whether, if the enemy 
followed in great numbers, it would not be more 
advisable to outmarch him, and embark the army 
before he could interrupt that operation, or whether 


a corps should be sacrificed in opposing him on the 

" It was for the interests of Spain that Sir John 
Moore should endeavour to divide and isolate the 
French forces by drawing them into the mountains 
till the enemy's line might become dangerously 

" He decided, then, to continue his retreat, and if 
he should be forced into Galicia, to embark the 
army, after which operation it could te moved to any 
point where the Spaniards or Portuguese required 
its support. 

" On this principle his movements were guided, 
and on it he continued to act, regardless of the 
common fame he might acquire by fighting a battle 
without an object. The safety of his army and the 
ultimate effect of his operations alone influenced his 

" It is true that his army had been disappointed, 
and that various were the opinions of officers of rank 
respecting his movements. But neither in advance 
nor in retreat did one single breach of discipline take 
place in consequence of these opinions, and it is 
absurd to suppose that he paid any attention to them. 
Officers talked and discussed the views of the 
general, as they always do ; but beyond that, no 
symptom of disapprobation or the reverse was shown 
or heard of. His orders, in which the term 'dis- 
organization' was used, referred to the stragglers, 
and the supposed want of exertion in some corps in 
preventing their soldiers from halting and falling out 
in villages. 

" Sir John Moore has been accused of not fighting 


in Galicia, but the principles on which he conducted 
his retreat and his character will show that it is not 
possible that he would be actuated by the frivolous 
motive of engaging with the enemy for the mere pur- 
pose of increasing the reputation of the army which 
had driven the French out of Portugal the year 

:< To suppose otherwise would be a great injustice 
to his character. I know of no other general who 
was more qualified to command. He had firmness, 
resolution, activity, courage and prudence, and 
from a long service with his troops, and his being 
the principal in the operations of the landings in 
Holland and Egypt, he was perfectly acquainted 
with the superiority of the British soldier to any 
other. His judgment of ground and the advantages 
of a position was unrivalled. 

" Before we listen to clamour, the unexpected posi- 
tion in which he was placed must be considered, 
the unprepared state of the Portuguese, and, for 
instance, the great diversion he did effect for the 
recovery of the cause, and through his judicious 
action the French lost by allowing themselves to be 
drawn into Galicia and by the separation of their 

'* The retiring of Buonaparte from Astorga to 
prosecute his Austrian war was never known to Sir 
John Moore. He had only to judge what was most 
probable to happen, that the whole disposable force 
would be brought to Galicia. Having been driven 
into it by superior force, the sooner he could get out 
of it, the better for the Spaniards. 

" If the French had made the great attack on 


Portugal in 1809 with their whole force, no general 
would have been warranted in risking his army at 
that time in its defence. 

" His disinterestedness, his great value in all the 
preceding operations, were fully known, and his last 
hours fully corresponded with his former conduct. 
So nothing could be more impressive than his death 
his anxious enquiries as to the result of the battle 
solicitude for his country's opinion and interest in 
his friends ; and his exclamation, ' You know I 
always wished to die thus, 5 is such a picture of the 
man's mind, that there was not a man who witnessed 
his death, the serenity of his countenance . . ." 

The rest of the passage is lost. But a letter 
written by Colborne to Miss Townsend on Qth 
March, 1 809, more than completes the sentence : 

" You have, of course, heard various reports which have 
been spread with uncommon assiduity by the malicious 
and ignorant, to injure his reputation. His movements 
can be fully justified. Fortune never smiled. He was 
soon aware of his situation, but never discovered the 
true state of things until he had actually entered Spain. 
He was disgusted at the infamous conduct of the soldiers, 
and the inattention of inexperienced officers. We cannot 
endure hardships ; we have not the military patience with 
which our enemies are gifted. We can stand to be shot at 
as well, or better than, most people, but this quality, 
although essential, is not sufficient for a military nation. 
1 What unheard-of difficulties, hardship and labours ! living 
on turnips ! no sleep ! ' All this frightens mama, but do 
not believe the quarter that you hear. John Bull is as 
fond of the marvellous as an Italian or a Spaniard. 

" I was not present when Sir John received his wound. 
About a quarter of an hour after the firing had commenced 
he sent me with a message to General Paget On my 

1809.] DEATH OF MOORE. 109 

return with the answer, I could not find him, but heard 
he had lost his arm. At this time I had no idea the 
wound was mortal, and therefore did not return to Corunna 
till dark. On my entering the room where he was you 
may conceive my situation. I saw that all was over. 
The surgeons were examining the mangled wound. 
It is impossible to imagine a more horrid one ; the 
ball had carried away his left breast, broken two 
ribs, shattered the shoulder, and the arm was scarcely 
attached to it the whole of his left side lacerated. One 
would have supposed that the first gushing out of 
the blood would have instantly caused his death, or made 
him insensible the most resolute minds and firmest nerves 
when thus assailed sink under pain, and Nature, exhausted, 
yields, but he, cool and collected, continued talking, recol- 
lecting the most minute and trifling circumstances till the 
last moment. His lungs were affected, and his voice from 
this was rather hoarse. He knew everyone, and while 
conversing was suddenly suffocated by internal bleeding, 
and who would not have wished to be him at that instant ? 
No distorted countenance, no sign of anguish, the picture 
of the mind could be traced by the serenity of the face, 
the one calm and dignified as the other was pure and 

"On falling from his horse no alteration in his counten- 
ance took place. They wished to take off his sword, but he 
said as it was not in the way he begged it might remain on. 
A most extraordinary man. The nearer you saw him, the 
more he was admired. He was superior by many degrees 
to everyone I have seen : he had a magnificent mind. A 
most perfect gentleman. A determined enemy to the 
corrupt, corruption, and jobs, he never spared where he 
thought it his duty to inflict. A man of this cast must 
create a host of enemies, and he certainly had his share 
of them. 

" To pursue melancholy subjects. We never heard of 
the death of poor Mrs. Fox until a short time before our 
arrival at Corunna. He thought her the most valuable and 


excellent woman with whom he ever was acquainted. He 
received General Fox's letter the day before the action. 
I beg to be kindly remembered to the General and Miss 
Fox. Most sincerely yours, 


It is v:orth while even to add to Colborne's narra- 
tive a fuller account of Moore's last hours, because 
if Colborne's name had been remembered in no other 
connexion, this ever-moving story, preserved by the 
pious affection of Colonel Anderson, must have kept 
it alive :- 

As the soldiers were carrying the wounded 
general from the battlefield, " he repeatedly made 
them turn round to view the battle and to listen to 
the firing, the sound of which becoming gradually 
fainter, indicated that the French were retreating. 
Before he reached Corunna it was almost dark, and 
Colonel Anderson met him, who, seeing his general 
borne from the field of battle for the third and last 
time, and steeped in blood, became speechless with 
anguish. Moore pressed his hand and said in a low 
tone, ' Anderson, don't leave me.' As he was carried 
into the house, his faithful servant Frangois came 
out and stood aghast with horror ; but his master, to 
console him, said, smiling, * My friend, this is 

" He was then placed on a mattrass on the floor 
and supported by Anderson, who had saved his life 
at St. Lucia; and some of the gentlemen of his 
staff came into the room by turns. He asked each 
as they entered if the French were beaten, and was 
answered affirmatively. They stood around ; the 
pain of his wound became excessive, and deadly pale- 

1809.] DEATH OF MOORE. 1 1 1 

ness overspread his fine features. Yet, with un- 
subdued fortitude, he said at intervals, * Anderson, 
you know that I have always wished to die this way. 
I hope the people of England will be satisfied. I 
hope my country will do me justice ! ' 

( Anderson, you will see my friends as soon as 
you can. Tell them everything. Say to my 

mother ! ' Here his voice faltered, he became 

excessively agitated, and not being able to proceed, 
changed the subject. 

' Hope ! Hope ! I have much to say to him 
but cannot get it out. Are Colonel Graham and all 
my aides-de-camp safe ? ' (At this question Ander- 
son, who knew the warm regard of the general 
towards the officers of his staff, made a private sign 
not to mention that Captain Burrard was mortally 
wounded.) He then continued : 

c I have made my will, and have remembered my 
servants. Colborne has my will and all my papers. 1 
As he spoke these words Major Colborne, his mili- 
tary secretary, entered the room. He addressed him 
with his wonted kindness; then, turning to Ander- 
son, said, ' Remember you go to Willoughby 
Gordon* and tell him it is my request, and that I 
expect he will give a lieutenant-colonelcy to Major 
Colborne ; he has been long with me and I know 
him to be most worthy of it.'t 

* Military Secretary to the Duke of York. 

f It is very characteristic of Colborne's character that he was 
reluctant to allow this testimony to his merits borne by his dying 
general to be published. Captain Graham Moore writes to him on 
the 29th May, 1809 : "The purport of my letter is ... chiefly at 
this moment [when] James is employed in an attempt to have justice 
done to our brave brother's memory, to endeavour to prevail upon 


" He then asked the major, who had come last 
from the field, * Have the French been beaten ? ' 
He assured them they had, on every point. ' It's a 
great satisfaction/ he said, ' for me to know that we 
have beat the French. Is Paget* in the room?' 
On being told he was not, he resumed, ' Remember 
me to him ; he is a fine fellow.' 

;< Though visibly sinking, he then said, ' I feel 
myself so strong I fear I shall be long dying it's 
great uneasiness it's great pain ! 

c Everything Franois says is right. I have 
great confidence in him ! ' He thanked the surgeons 
for their attendance. Then, seeing Captains Percy 
and Stanhope, two of his aides-de-camp, enter, he 
spoke to them kindly, and repeated to them the ques- 
tion, * If all his aides-de-camp were safe ? ' and was 
pleased on being told they were. 

" After a pause Stanhope caught his eye, and he 
said to him, c Stanhope, remember me to your 
sister.'t He then became silent. Death, un- 
dreaded, approached, and the spirit departed."^: 

you to give up your objection to making public every particular 
circumstance in the last scene of his life. ... To every candid 
and liberal mind it must appear honourable to you, as well as to 
himself, the strong interest he felt that you should have justice done 
you, and as it is certainly a strong characteristic trait of the General, 
I do hope and request of you, in the name of my mother and all our 
family, that you will give up your objection to the whole of what he 
said on that sad occasion being made public." 

* The Hon. Edward Paget, who commanded the reserve. 

f Lady Hester Stanhope, whose warm attachment to Moore is well 
known. A seal which she gave him was cut off Moore's fob after 
death by Colborne. He gave it to Mr. Carrick Moore, who however 
returned it to Colborne, saying, " You have the better right to it." 
It is now in the possession of the Hon. Lady Montgomery- Moore. 

$ Moore's Life of Sir J. Moore, ii., pp. 226230. 

1809.] DEATH OF MOORE. 113 

The story is continued by George Napier, who 
had been Moore's aide-de-camp from the beginning 
of the campaign. 

" With a heavy heart I turned my sorrowful steps 
to the headquarter house. On entering I saw no 
light; I heard no sound, no movement all was 
silent as the grave. A cold, dread chill struck upon 
my heart as I ascended the gloomy stairs and opened 
the opposite door, from whence I imagined I heard 
the half-stifled sob of grief. Oh God ! what was my 
horror, my misery, my agony! Sir John Moore lay 
stretched on a mattrass ; a dreadful wound bared the 
cavity of the chest; he had just breathed his last. 
.... Never shall I forget the scene that room 
displayed on that fatal night. Colonel Anderson, who 
had been from youth the tried friend and companion 
of his general, was kneeling with his arm supporting 
Sir John Moore's head, with blanched cheeks, half- 
parted, colourless lips, and his eyes intently fixed on 
that face, whose smile of approbation and affection 
had been his pride and his delight for years ; but 
the look of keen anguish that Anderson's counten- 
ance expressed is far beyond my powers of descrip- 
tion. Next in this group stood Colborne, whose firm 
and manly countenance was relaxed and overcast 
with thoughtful grief, as though he pondered more 
on his country's than on private sorrow, for he felt 
and deeply mourned the amount of England's loss. 
Then high-spirited, guileless Harry Percy, pouring 
forth in convulsive sobs the overflowing of his warm 
and generous heart, and poor James Stanhope com- 
pletely struck down and overwhelmed by the double 
loss of his brother* and his friend. Although last 


in this imperfect sketch, not least absorbed in the 
deep anguish of despair stood his faithful and 
devoted servant, Francois, bending over his master's 
mangled body, his hands clasped in speechless 
agony, his face as pale as the calm countenance he 
wildly gazed upon. That eye, which was wont to* 
penetrate the inmost soul, was glazed in death. 
That manly, graceful form, the admiration of the 
army, lay stretched a bloody lifeless corpse ; the 
great spirit had quitted its earthly habitation ; all 
around was sad and gloomy. Moore was dead! "t 

At midnight on the i6th January Sir John Moore's 
body was removed by torchlight from the house on 
the quay, where he had died, to the quarters of his 
friend Colonel Graham in the citadel of Corunna. 
An entry in Graham's diary of I7th January gives 
us the last scene of the story. 

"A grave was dugj: in the centre of the flat 
bastion of the citadel where poor Anstruther lay, 
and there, at eight o'clock in the morning|| the 
general's body, without a coffin, was interred. 
Anderson, Colborne, Percy and Stanhope were 

* Charles Stanhope, who had been killed, was second to Charles 
Napier in command of the 5oth. Charles Napier, who had been 
taken prisoner, was believed at this moment by his brother to have 
been killed also. 

f Early Military Life of Sir G. T. Napier, pp. 7577. 

J Apparently by the Qth Foot. See Earlier Letters of Sir W. Gomm, 
p. 116. 

Brig.. General Anstruther, a great friend of Moore's, had died on 
reaching Corunna. 

|| Wolfe's famous lines say " at dead of night," and Sir W. Napier 
writes : " The battle was scarcely ended " when Moore was buried. 
But Graham's statement is the true one. 

iScx,.] BURIAL OF MOORE. 115 

present only,* Napier and I being joined to General 
Hope's staff ; and, some firing from the point having 
taken place, they hurried it over."t 

It was still early, as George Napier writes, when 
" Colonel [Major] Colborne| and myself went on 
board the * Audacious/ 74 gun ship, Captain Gos- 
ling, having with much difficulty reached her, as in 
consequence of the enemy bringing some guns to 
the heights, which in fact commanded the bay, and 
opening a fire on the transports, they were cutting 
away their cables and were in much confusion, and 
it was a service of danger to get through them." 

In the following note from Falmouth Colborne 
announces to his stepfather his return to England : 

" 25th January, 1809. 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, I have only time to say that I 
am well. You will know the loss we have sustained. || 
I shall soon see you. Yours most affectionately, 


* The service was read by the Rev. H. J. Symons. (Notes and 
Queries, Ser. I., Vol. VI., p. 274.) 

j- Delavoye's Life of Lord Lynedoch, p. 299. 

J Should Napier have written " Colonel Graham " ? 

Early Military Life of Sir G. T. Napier, p. 78. 

|| Miss Yonge says that fifty years later Lord Seaton's voice 
trembled as he spoke of Moore. (Miss Coleridge's C. M. Yonge, p. 19.) 



THE following letters show that Colborne, after 
reaching London, had much work on hand in 
settling the accounts of the late expedition with the 
Commissary. He was in frequent communication 
with Sir John Moore's family, and warmly interested 
in defending his military character against the 
attacks which were made on it. In his own case, 
the General's dying request had been complied with. 
He was appointed to a lieutenant-colonelcy in the 
5th Garrison Battalion on 2nd February, 1809. 

These garrison battalions were corps of old 
soldiers formed to remain in England, but Colborne 
obtained permission to return to the Peninsula. 

" London, 

" Ibbotson's, 
" Vere-street, 
" January [25 ?], 1809. 

" My dear Delia, Knowing that you would be uneasy, 
I sent you a short note immediately after the action. I 
hope it arrived before the public news reached you, as the 
officer who carried the dispatch put it in the post-office 
Falmouth. I ought to have been sent with General 
Hope's letter, but Sir D. Baird preferred one of his own 

1809.] DEATH OF MOORE. 117 

" General Hope sent me to London as soon as we arrived 
at [Portsmouth] with a copy of his dispatch, and I only 
reached this place a few hours after the original* 

" It seems a dream I can scarcely believe that I am in 
England. Indeed, this is the first day since the action 
I have had time to reflect and lament my friend. He was 
a noble fellow had I not seen him die I should have 
thought it impossible for the firmest mind to have endured 
bodily pain with such indifference, with such calm serenity 
for although when in health, and sound, one conceives a 
possibility of bearing every ill, yet the stoutest hearts yield 
to nature and sink under the pain of a mutilated body. 

" General Moore was struck on his left breast and shoul- 
der by a cannon shot which [broke] his ribs, his arm, 
lacerated his shoulder and the whole of his left side and 
lungs. From the gushing out of the blood I should have 
thought he would have instantly expired. His voice was 
rather hoarse from inward bleeding. When knocked off 
his horse he did not say anything, nor did the shot make 
him change countenance. He was carried away in a 
blanket, and spoke to everyone as he passed. I remained 
out until the action was over, and when dark rode to 
Corunna. On my entering the room the General knew me, 
and spoke most kindly to me and said, ' Colborne, have 
we beaten the French ? ' I replied, ' Yes, we have repulsed 
them in every point* ' Well,' says he, ' that is a satis- 
faction. I hope my country will do me justice.' He then 
said to Colonel Anderson, ' Go to Colonel Gordon when 
you arrive in England, tell him it is my wish remember, 
I request that Colborne gets a lieutenant-colonelcy.' He 
then said, ' Remember me to General Paget General 
Edward Paget he is a fine fellow.' He asked everyone 
that came into the room about the enemy, and died in a 
moment after he had spoken, without the least symptom 
of pain. He was buried by his own aides-de-camp and my- 
self, on a bastion at Coranna. 

* Captain Hope, who brought the original, arrived in London late 
on the 23rd. 


" The Duke of York received me with great kindness, 
and was much affected on reading General Hope's 

" I can tell you nothing certain about myself. The 
greater part of the fleet is not come in, but I have yet 
much business to finish, if possible. I need not assure you 
how happy I shall be to pay Duke and little Delia a visit. 
Remember me to them, and believe me most affection- 
ately yours, 


" Mrs. Duke Yonge, Antony, 

" Tor Point, Plymouth Dock, Devon." 

" London, 

"2;th January, 1809. 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, I arrived in London about one. 
I have seen General Hope ; as yet he knows nothing, but 
appears very anxious to get away. 

" I found a note from F. Moore,* begging me to defer 
my visit to Richmond until to-morrow. This I was not 
sorry for, as I find that only 7,000 men are arrived at 
Portsmouth, and until the Commissary and Paymaster- 
General arrive, or that General Hope returns to Portsmouth, 
it will be useless my going there. 

" I cannot tell you how long I shall be obliged to remain 
here. Government find themselves exceedingly encouraged 
about this letter.^ General Stewart has blundered, and 
said it was General Moore's wish to have it published. I 
can assert that this is not the fact. 

" They talk of an immense force being sent to Spain. 

* Francis Moore, who was in the War Office, was a younger brother 
of Sir John Moore. Their father " Dr. Moore," had died at Richmond 
in 1802. 

f General Moore's letter to Lord Castlereagh of I3th January. 
General Stewart had been sent to England with it before the battle. 
It was printed by Order of the House of Commons, though Sir J. 
Moore says, " My letter, written so carelessly, can only be considered 
as private." See Annual Register, 1809, p. 426. 


If so, I can safely say it will not be ready for six weeks or 
two months. 

" My wish is to get the command of a regiment on the 
new expedition, but I fear this is impossible. 

" I find some people have been making inquiries where 
I am to be found. I have reason to suppose they wish to 
sound me about General Moore's dispatch. However, they 
will get nothing from me, to whatever Party they may 
belong. Yours affectionately, 


" 14, Chapel-place, 

" Vere-street, 

" 3Oth January. 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, I have just received your letter. 
You seem to have formed a great notion of my merit. I 
only wish I deserved half as much as you think or wished. 

" They have behaved very handsomely in giving me the 
first vacancy, and you will be surprised when I tell you it 
pleases me. My promotion is in a garrison battalion. 
There are hundreds who like to be idle, and will exchange. 
Therefore I shall have time to look about me, and get into 
a good regiment perhaps the Twentieth, for it is in vain 
to look to command a regiment immediately most regi- 
ments have two battalions and two lieutenant-colonels. 

" An office will be opened in London where all my busi- 
ness must be arranged. 

" The Wellesleys will have the command of the new 
expedition. Most affectionately yours, 


"8th February, 1809, 

" 14, Chapel-place, 

" Vere-street. 

" My dear Alethea, . . . Friday it will be neces- 
sary to call on the Duke to thank him for my promotion. 

120 IN LONDON. [Cn. IX. 

I was gazetted last night. You may now give me my rank. 
"... I have called several times on Lord Castle- 
reagh, and had an interview this morning. 


In a letter to Mr. Bargus, dated " London, 2ist 
February, 1809," Colborne says " I begin my work 
to-morrow morning." 

" London, 

" ist March, 1809. 

" My dear Mr. Bargus, I have nearly settled all my 
business, but the Commissary with whom I must finish my 
account is not in town, nor will be here until Monday. I 
am determined not to leave things half settled, therefore 
you will not see me before Wednesday. 

" Colonel Ross called on me yesterday, previous to his 
going down to the Twentieth. He means to push Colonel 
Campbell for an immediate answer.* Should it not be 
favourable, I have my application ready for Colonel 
Gordon, which I am convinced will not be refused. I saw 
the Duke the day before yesterday. I was resolved not 
to -forsake him while under a cloud.t The parading at the 
levee of the King is by no means necessary, the only ad- 
vantage to be reaped from such a ceremony consists in 
reading one's own name in the newspaper the next morn- 
ing. I must defer taking Lady Selsey'st advice till I 
return from Spain, or till I have achieved some grand 

" I went to the House on Friday, and remained till five 

* Colborne desired to exchange back into his old regiment. 

f The conduct of the Duke of York had been impugned in the 
House of Commons on 2;th January. He resigned the office of Com- 
mander-in-Chief on iSth March. 

J Hester Elizabeth [Jennings], in her own right, Lady of the Manor 
of Barkway, wife of Hon. John Peachey, who became second Baron 
Selsey in 1808. She and her husband had presented Mr. Bargus to 
the vicarage of Barkway on a8th November, 1798. 


in the morning. I was disgusted with the impudent false- 
hoods on the part of Canning.* 

" The Ministers had the advantage, for the opposition 
attacked in the dark. Had I been in the front row, I 
really believe the spirit would have moved me to have 
given the Ministers the lie direct. 

" They all speak very bad ; Windham's is the most 
disagreeable voice I ever heard ; Canning affected to put 
himself in a passion, but made no impression on the 
House, at least, if I can judge by my own feelings. Tier- 
ney speaks like a country gentleman, blunt, and sometimes 
even eloquent ; Perceval both speaks and looks like an 
apothecary. The minor orators, if they can be called 
orators, are worse than could be found in the meanest 
spouting club of a country school : the few words they 
uttered were sputtered out with ' I wish, sir/ ' I con- 
ceive, sir,' ' I hope, sir/ ' my right honourable friend/ 
' the gallant general/ and ' the right honourable 
lord ' squeezed in, almost in every sentence, so as 
to make them unintelligible to us that are not in 
the habit of attending the House. Of this class 
were Brigadier-General Stewart, Lord Milton, a Major 
Allen, and many others. I forgot Lord H. Petty. He 
speaks very clear and distinct, but there is a monotony in 
his harangues which offends my ear exceedingly. I sat 
in the midst of newspaper reporters, who frequently put 
down (when they cannot hear) anything to make up a 

* " Lord Castlereagh and Lord Liverpool paid an honorable tribute 
to the merits of the commander ; but Mr. Canning, unscrupulously 
resolute to screen Mr. Frere, assented to all the erroneous statements 
of the opposition, and endeavoured with malignant dexterity ;to 
convert them into charges against the fallen general. Sir John Moore 
was, he said, answerable for the events of the campaign ... for he 
had kept the Ministers ignorant of his proceedings. . . . Not long 
afterwards Sir John Moore's letters, written almost daily and fur- 
nishing exact and copious information of all that was passing in the 
Peninsula, were laid before the House." (Napier, Bk. V., chap, i.) 
The debate Colborne attended was that held on 24th February, when 
Mr. Ponsonby moved for an inquiry into the circumstances of the late 
campaign, and was defeated by 220 to 127. 

122 IN LONDON. [Cn. IX. 

sentence. Not one of the speeches appeared in the papers 
correct, or even like the originals. 

"Yesterday I walked to Richmond and dined with F. 
Moore, and returned in the evening. I was not more than 
an hour and a [half] going and about an hour and three 
quarters on my return. I spoke to him seriously about 
publishing certain letters. 

" It is reported that the Brest fleet are now in Rochefort 
Most affectionately yours, 


" I am much obliged to Mrs. B. for Miss Law's letter. I 
mean to write to General Fox or some part of his family." 

" London, 

";th March, 1809. 

" My dear Alethea, Most heartily tired I am of accounts 
and claims. By way of exercise after the fatigues of the 
morning I have frequently walked to Richmond and back 
the same night. Sunday I slept there, and returned early 
on Monday morning. 

" Antonio,* I am afraid, is very troublesome. Let him 
be made useful, if possible ; he is very idle. Is there any- 
thing that you or Maria wish from this gay city? Was it 
' Mordaunt ' or ' Edward '* that Maria wished to have ? 

" The party to Mr. M 's is inevitable is it not ? Were 

I to live with you two months I certainly should be thought 
the greatest brute in the county of Herts. Instance the 
first Here is a man, hospitable to a degree unknown 
amongst the good people of England in general : rides 
through snow, over hedge and ditch, to see me, and yet I 
am such an ungrateful, unsociable and extraordinary 
animal that I do not feel the least inclination to partake 
of his good -cheer. More silly than mad, you will say, but 
such is the nature of the beast la societa non mi piaca 

* A Calabrian servant whom Colborne had left at Barkway. 
f Both novels written by Dr. Moore, Sir John Moore's father. 



"Adieu, my sweet old maid, and believe me, with kind 
remembrance to all the family, your very humble servant 
and brother to command, j COLBORNE " 

Miss Townsend, to whom the following letter is 
addressed, was apparently a member of General 
Fox's family who had lived in his house in Sicily. 
Colonel Bunbury had married the eldest Miss Fox. 

" 14, Chapel-place, 

" Vere-street, 

"9th March, 1809. 

" My dear Miss Townsend, If I had been cudgelled for 
a month, there is not one hour out of the many days since 
I had the pleasure of seeing you that I could have sat 
down deliberately with the intention of writing to any of 
my own correspondents. I have heard of people com- 
posing elegant stanzas and writing very pretty letters 
during the deepest distress, but I confess, when I am 
disappointed, vexed or afflicted, I am one of those who 
can neither write nor read. I resign the appellation with 
which you or Colonel Bunbury* honoured me, ' the Philo- 

" I promised to write to you from Sweden, and much 
there was in that country to describe, for a most delightful 
one it is, but the foolish errand on which we were sent put 
me out of humour not a little. 

" Away we go to Portugal, where I once more joined my 
old regiment"! 

" London, 

"gth March, 1809, 

" 14, Chapel-place. 

"My dear Alethea, I shall ruin you in postage. It 
will be impossible to close my business before Saturday; 

* Colonel H. E. Bunbury, the author of Narrative of some Passages 
i-,i the Great War, was Quartermaster- General to the British forces in 
the Mediterranean. 

f The rest of this interesting letter has been given already, pp. 92, 108. 

124 IN LONDON. [Cn. IX, 

therefore I cannot be with you till Sunday or Monday. 
Nothing shall prevent me from leaving town on Monday, 
I may probably get away before. 

" Whether the climate, the wind or the smoke of London 
affects the nerves of your melancholy brother, I cannot 
say ; but most certain it is that I never felt so strong an 
inclination to hang myself at times. This is only fa$on 
de parler, for I should think twice and look at my garters 
a long time before I exalted myself. But I am really 
miserable and what is more extraordinary, I cannot find 
out the cause ; this is very provoking. Pouring out the 
tea with one hand and my letter in the other, I think T see 
you much inclined to read this letter to the public. If I 
find you proclaiming my secrets, I shall not write to you. 

" The Duke of York will, I think, keep his place ; the 
Ministry support him. Last night the debate was ad- 
journed. Most affectionately yours, 


" I have just heard but I cannot vouch for its authenticity, 
that Lord Paget went off a few days ago with Mr. Henry 
Wellesley's wife, sister of Lord Cadogan, and that Sir 
Arthur Wellesley called out Lord Paget and killed him in 
the first fire. The first part of the story is certainly true." 

Circumstances prevented Colborne from leaving 
England as soon as he intended. On the 2;th 
March his stepfather, Mr. Bargus, was seized with 
convulsive spasms while officiating as Justice of the 
Peace for Herts, and died in a few hours, and Col- 
borne was called upon to give his filial assistance to 
the widow of his stepfather. He had, at the same 
time, the pleasure of hearing from Mr. Bargus' old 
friend, Dr. Goddard of Winchester, the esteem 
which Mr. Bargus entertained for him. Dr. God- 
dard wrote on the 2nd April : 

" I feel true satisfaction in assuring you that he has 

1809.] A FIRST MEETING. 125 

often expressed himself to me as amply repayed for the 
care and anxiety he had experienced on your account by 
your exemplary conduct, and the estimation in which you 
were held by those who were most intimately acquainted 
with your character." 

On the following day Sir George Murray wrote 
to say that he had mentioned Colborne to Sir Arthur 
Wellesley for the post of military secretary. This 
post he declined at the price, it is said, of some 
displeasure on the part of Sir Arthur and being 
greatly occupied with his private affairs and those of 
Sir John Moore, he found himself unable to join 
the army till three months after Sir Arthur's landing 
at Oporto (22nd April). 

It was in this interval that Colborne first met the fair 
lady who was destined to be his wife, Miss Elizabeth 
tYonge, called "the beauty of Devonshire." She 
was the eldest daughter of the Rev. James Yonge, 
squire of Puslinch, Devon, and rector of Newton 
Ferrers. Her cousin, the Rev. Duke Yonge, of 
Antony, near Plymouth, had married Miss Cordelia 
Colborne on the I4th May, 1806. Miss Yonge 
writes in her diary under the date " 2ist June, 1809 " : 
" Duke Yonge and Colonel Colborne called at 
Puslinch," to which she added, some time later, 
" The first time we ever met, and this day four years 
we were married ; not aware, for some time, of its 
being the same month and day." Colonel Colborne 
called at Puslinch again with his brother-in-law on 
the 2 Qth, but a few days later, when his business 
was done, he took his passage to the Peninsula to 
see further service. The following letter testifies 
to his warm affection for his half-sister, Miss Alethea 


Bargus, and to his desire as far as possible to take 
the place of the father she had lost. 

" Falmouth, 

" 2 ist July, 1809. 

" My dear Alethea, I arrived here yesterday. I intend 
to proceed to Cadiz in the packet, but we are detained by 
the embargo. I remained one night with Delia. I expect 
you will be a first-rate performer when I return. Two 
hours at drawing, two at music and three at history 
savcte qualche cosa then, provided you will rise at 7 you 
will have three hours for other employments. Read by 
yourself every day, and recollect what you have read at 
the end of the week; that is, make an abridgment. 
Always continue your chain of reading, even if it is but 
half an hour each day. 

" I must beg of you to buy another of Moore's books 
and send it to Mr. Sisson, with my compliments.* Never 
were there materials so mangled [as] by that stupid doctor, 
and the publication is full of errors. However, the letters 
are well selected, and certainly do honour to Sir John 

" Have you determined on a house ? Most affectionately 


Colborne reached the Peninsula too late to take 
part in the passage of the Douro (i2th May) and the 
battle of Talavera (28th July), but in his con- 
versations in later years he told some stories of 
these feats of arms : 

" The Duke was occasionally not above writing in 
his despatches to please the aristocracy. At the 
passage of the Douro, Hervey made a very brilliant 
charge with his regiment, something like the Bala- 

* A Narrative of the Campaign of the British Army in Spain 
commanded by . . . Sir John Moore. By James Moore, Esq., 1809. 


clava charge, right through the French, and Sir 
Charles Stewart (afterwards Lord Londonderry), 
who was riding with him, waved his hat, but had 
nothing whatever to do with it. Hervey was 
obliged to retire again across the river, and when 
among the infantry had his arm shot off. In the 
despatch all the credit was given by the Duke to 

" Poor Hervey said to me when he was wounded, 
' Now, did you ever see anything like that? I 
wanted some little puff of that kind, and Stewart 
could get on without it; besides, it was my affair.' 

" I don't mean to say this was peculiar to the 
Duke ; it used to be a common thing with general 
officers. Old Admiral Duckworth, after the passage 
of the Dardanelles, during which Lord Burghersh 
was present on the deck of his ship, wrote home in 
his despatch, * and among the most animated on the 
deck was Lord Burghersh.' The different captains 
who had carried their ships through it all were very 
indignant, and said, ' What a shame of the old fellow 
diverting the attention of the public to a man who 
had nothing to do with it ! ' 

" After Hervey had lost his arm he was attacked 
by a Frenchman, sword in hand, but directly the 
Frenchman saw that Hervey had but one arm, he 
put up his sword, made him a courteous bow, and 
left him ! 

' The Duke made a great mistake in fighting the 
battle of Talavera. Owing to false information, he 

* " Brig.-General the Hon. C. Stewart then directed a charge by a 
squadron of the I4th Dragoons, under the command of Major Hervey, 
who made a successful attack on the enemy's rear-guard." Despatch 
of 1 2th May, 1809, Oporto. 


was not aware of the overwhelming force against 
him, and he did not know that besides the army in 
the field there were three immense corps (Tarmee 
behind. It was entirely owing to disunion and 
jealousy between Victor and the other French- 
generals that we were not completely annihilated. 
As it was, we lost one-third of our army, and though 
we remained master of the field, we were obliged to 
retire into Portugal. The Duke as much as owned 
his error to me in discussing the affair afterwards. 
He said, * The fact is, they had too many men for 


Colborne, after landing at Cadiz, seems to have 
arrived at Sir Arthur Wellesley's headquarters at 
Jaraicejo about nth August, and to have been at 
once despatched to the Spanish army commanded 
by Cuesta, with instructions to follow its movements 
and report on them. On his arrival, he found that 
Cuesta* had just been superseded by General Eguia 
(i2th August). The latter took great umbrage 
that Sir Arthur Wellesley's letter had been ad- 
dressed to Cuesta and not to himself, and professed 
to see in this a personal insult. 

As Colborne related in after years : " On reach- 
ing the Spanish headquarters I was shown into a 
room completely filled with despatches intercepted 
from the French army. The Spaniards, with char- 
acteristic negligence, left them lying about for any- 
one to do as he liked with them, but made no real 
use of them. Lord Wellington frequently com- 

* Colborne is made to say that he arrived at the moment when 
Venegas was superseded by Eguia. But I think for " Venegas " we 
should read Cuesta." See Napier, Bk. VIII., ch. III. 

1809.] WITH A SPANISH ARMY. 129 

plained, even after this, that he was never sent im- 
portant information, even if the Spaniards had 
intercepted any. I made use of my time to select 
the cream of the correspondence and send it to Sir 
George Murray. One of the despatches which I 
sent to headquarters was one from Soult, regretting 
that he had not besieged Ciudad Rodrigo according 
to his first intention. This first informed Sir Arthur 
Wellesley that such had been Souk's intention, and 
caused him to march north instead of south. Sir 
George Murray accordingly wrote back to me that 
Sir Arthur was much pleased, and wished much 
that I w T ould ( send more of such despatches,' and 
for that purpose would attach myself to the staff of 
the Spanish army. I was unwilling to do this, as 
it would interfere with my prospects in the British 
army, but as long as I remained in La Mancha I said 
I was willing to make myself useful." 

Soon after joining the Spaniards Colborne wrote 
the following letter to the widow of his stepfather : 

" Merida, 

" ist September, 1809. 

" My dear Mrs. Bargus, I arrived at Cadiz the beginning 
of last month, and proceeded by way of Seville to the 
army in Estremadura. The battle of Talavera and the 
position of the French armies since that affair have changed 
the appearance of things in this country, I mean, consider- 
ably for the worse. The British army is retiring on 
Portugal, and has suffered so much from the campaign 
that I doubt whether it will be fit for any service of im- 
portance for several months; the sick amount to ten 
thousand. The French will not molest the British army 
until they receive reinforcements. 

" I intend returning to the south in a few days. The 



country through which I have passed seems tired of war, 
and the Central and Provincial Juntas are disputing with 
each other respecting the appointment of an officer to 
command their armies. Amidst so much discord and 
stupidity, I am afraid the French will not find many 
obstacles opposed to them, should the affairs in Austria be 
finally settled. 

" My friends, the Spaniards, have behaved very ill in the 
battle of Talavera. Cuesta is a perverse, stupid old block- 
head. To him most of the misfortunes must be attributed. 

H Sir John Moore's letters, after what has happened, are 
quoted by every person who has been in Spain as a faithful 
picture of the country. I am sadly vexed they have been 
brought before the public by James Moore. His work is 
a most miserable performance, and the language coarse 
and vulgar, but notwithstanding these disadvantages 
attending the letters of Sir John Moore, they will con- 
vince the world that he possessed more foresight and judg- 
ment than those who abused him, whilst the manly spirit 
that runs through the whole of them must be admired by 
even the most prejudiced. As things have turned out, [ 
regret that I did not accept the offer of General Aber- 
crombie to accompany him to India. . . ." 
(Remainder wanting.) 

Colborne remained with the army of La Mancha 
for three months. At the end of October General 
Eguia was replaced in the command by General 
Areizaga, who entered on operations of extra- 
ordinary rashness, which ended with the complete 
destruction of his army by Soult, at Ogafia, on igth 

Colborne describes the battle in the following 
letter, in which he also announces that he has been 
appointed to the 66th Regiment, t To get a regi- 

* Napier, Bk. IX., chap. V. 
f His appointment was dated 2nd November. 

i8og.] BATTLE OF OCANA. 131 

ment was no doubt very gratifying to him, for the 
last few months had been a time of great expense. 

" Badajos, 

" 5th December, 1809. 

" My dear Alethea, On my return to Badajos from the 
Spanish army of La Mancha (which has been completely 
defeated and dispersed) I found that I was appointed to 
the 66th Regiment. The 2nd Battalion being here, I have 
taken the command of it, so you may direct to me in future 
in Portugal, where we are about to proceed in two or three 

" Thanks to a good horse and fortune I have arrived 
safe and in excellent preservation at the British army. 

" You may easily conceive the confusion* when I tell 
you we had 46,100 infantry and 6,000 cavalry drawn out 
in a very bad position. The French attacked with about 
27,000, and having turned the right of the first line of the 
Spaniards, my friends were thrown into confusion, and 
retired to an olive wood, where, the Spanish cavalry press- 
ing in upon the infantry, the confusion was completed. 

" The French pushed on their cavalry, and in about a 
quarter of an hour the whole Spanish army dispersed, 
leaving guns, equipage, &c., to the enemy, who pursued us 
about 4 leagues. 

" I have received two letters from you, and am glad to 
hear you have at last taken a house. I am afraid you will 
be soon tired of Sloane-street I still think a house in the 
country would have been better. 

" The French have dispersed another Spanish army near 
Salamanca. f It is, therefore, I believe, thought proper or 
prudent that the British army should now retire to 
Portugal. We shall not remain quiet long. 

" I have scarcely been a night in the same place lately, 
and found it impossible to write to you when with the 
Spanish army. Believe me, your most affectionate 

* Battle of Ocana, igth November, 
t Battle of Alba de Tormes, 26th November. 

F 2 

( 132 ) 



THE 2nd Battalion of the 66th Regiment, which 
Colborne now commanded, formed part of the 2nd 
(Hill's) Division of Wellington's army. 

On 1 8th December Lord Wellington informed 
Sir Rowland Hill of his arrangements for the 
defence of Portugal. " I shall form two principal 
corps, both consisting of British and Portuguese 
troops, the largest of which will be to the northward, 
and I shall command it myself, and the latter will be 
for the present upon the Tagus, and hereafter it may 
be moved forward into Alemtejo." The command of 
the latter corps he now gave to Hill. Accordingly, 
Hill's division quitted Spain for Portugal. 

" Abrantes, 

" 3rd February, 1810. 

" Dear Mrs. Bargus, I had the pleasure of receiving 
your letter soon after my return from La Mancha. 

" It is not impossible but that we may be compelled to 
abandon this country in the spring or summer; however, 
of that we shall be better able to judge in a few weeks. 

" I do not wish to have Roscius disposed of yet He 


may be useful to me should any accident bring me to 
England with my regiment. 

" I now command the regiment, and am much pleased 
with the officers of it. The corps has suffered considerably 
during the campaign by sickness and battle. The senior 
lieutenant-colonels are on the staff as b[rigadier] generals, 
which will probably be the cause of my going to India 
when we get out of Portugal. 

" The French entered Seville on [ist February], and are 
on the march to Cadiz. We have sent four regiments to 
that garrison. We shall not be attacked here till April in 
my opinion. 

" I am not sorry to find myself once more with a British 
army. My poor friends the Spaniards are really to be 
pitied; the nation has been lost by an infamous govern- 
ment. With the battle of Ocafia every hope ended. The 
general-in-chief was a weak and silly man, without a 
military idea. It was a most distressing scene. Most 
sincerely yours, 

"J. C." 

On 1 2th February, in consequence of the French 
having approached Badajos, Hill was directed to 
move forward to Portalegre in order to protect the 
sick in Elvas till they could be removed to Lisbon. 
He had with him his own British division, two bri- 
gades of Portuguese infantry, one brigade of British 
cavalry, the 4th Regiment of Portuguese cavalry, 
and one brigade of German and two of Portuguese 
artillery. He was instructed to co-operate with 
certain Spanish troops then supposed to have 
crossed the Tagus, and to prevent the French, if 
possible, from attempting any serious operation 
against Badajos. However, they had retreated on 
his approach.* 

* Sidney's Life of Lord Hill (1845), P- 125. 


" Portalegre, 

" 24th February, 1810. 

" My dear Alethea, We have once more passed to the 
south of the Tagus. The French, under Marshal Mortier, 
have appeared before Badajos, which movement has 
alarmed us a little, as our hospitals are not yet removed 
from Elvas. Joseph Bonaparte and Victor entered Seville 
on the ist inst Part of their force has proceeded towards 
Cadiz. I think they will not be able to take it. Venegas, 
the governor, is a very honourable man, and a great friend 
to us. The enemy is threatening in several points north 
and south, but I do not think he will attempt anything 
serious for several weeks. You must send us out reinforce- 
ments immediately. 

" I like my battalion very much. It is in very good 
order, but I wish it was stronger. 

" Some of the regiments are still very sickly. This is 
very extraordinary, as we are now in a most delightful 
climate. Your brother never enjoyed ruder health, and 
except having been desperately in love (which he attri- 
butes to remaining three weeks in the same place), has 
met with nothing since his last letter to ruffle his temper. 
However, it has been the cause of his making considerable 
progress in the Portuguese language. You see you have 
fully my confidence and all my secrets. Your most affec- 
tionate brother, 

" J. C." 

" Portalegre, 

" 2 ist March, 1810. 

" My dear Alethea, The French have made no con- 
siderable movement on this side of the Tagus lately. We 
are still in our old position. The enemy's force is increas- 
ing to the north. Napoleon is expected at Salamanca, 
Marshal Ney is before Ciudad Rodrigo with 25,000 men. 
In my humble opinion we shall not be attacked until May. 
The Spaniards are still my favourites ; had they but a 


tolerable government they would become the finest people 
in Europe. Their character in England is quite mistaken ; 
they are in general abused by the British army without 
reason. The inhabitants of Badajos are determined to 
defend themselves. The place is weak, and must fall 
unless the people follow the example of Saragossa and 
Gerona.* In that case, there is no calculating how long 
the besiegers may be kept at work. 

" The army under Romana and Odonnel immediately in 
our front still puts on a good countenance, and skirmishes 
with French detachments frequently, in spite of disasters 
and the black appearance of their country's cause. The 
poor fellows have been driven about by the enemy from 
province to province, exposed to the summer's heat and 
winter's cold, without provisions, without clothing, and 
scarcely knowing what money is. Do you think a British 
army would cling together under such unfavourable cir- 
cumstances ?t The fact is, we are a most boastive nation, 
and have disgusted the Spaniards wherever we have mixed 
with them. However, you must not believe all I say, as I 
am called a madman by many, and even by my friends, 
an enthusiast 

" I think in a few weeks I shall be able to judge what 
prospect there may be of our army being successful. Your 
most affectionate brother, 

" J. C." 

Colborne's statement, that some of his friends 

* Saragossa surrendered to the French on 2ist February, 1809, 
after a siege of two months, Gerona on loth December, 1809, after 
a siege of six months. 

f Colborne, who had seen more of the Spaniards than most English 
officers in the Peninsula, was always their warm defender. He wrote 
in an article years later : " The privations and misery endured by a 
large mass of the people of Spain from their patriotism and hatred to 
their oppressors, were seldom equalled. With a brave, hardy, active, 
abstemious, peasantry, fond of glory, it may appear extraordinary 
that the struggle of the Spaniards was prolonged for six years without 
any decided success, but the Central Junta and the presumption and 
obstinacy of most of the men placed at the head of the armies ren- 
dered their perseverance and courage useless." 


called him an enthusiast, is perhaps explained by 
the following story told by him in his later years : 

After speaking of General Cameron, afterwards 
Sir Alan Cameron (1753-1828), whom he had known 
in Holland and Sweden, he went on to say : " I 
met him some years after in Spain. It was the 
worst time he could have seen the army, when it 
was retreating into Portugal. He had been riding 
on some way with me, asking me about everything, 
and I had been giving him a rather good account 
of the Spaniards. He then rode some way in front, 
and turning round, called back to me before all the 
soldiers, ' Colborne, you know you always were a 
d d enthusiast! 3 

" He was a rough old Goth. When he shook 
hands with you he gave you such a squeeze that it 
made you squeal again. There is a story that he 
once fought a duel with a cousin of his in a cave, and 
cut him in half. Some people said that he once 
threw his wife overboard in a passion and then 
jumped in and saved her. However, I believe she 
was in a fever, and threw herself in. He was in 
Holland with a Highland regiment which he had 
raised himself, and when the Duke of York told 
him that they were going to draft his regiment, the 
79th, into another, he said in broad Scotch, * That's 
more than your Royal Highness's royal father could 
do ; for they are all Camerons ! ' "* 

Colborne had not long had the command of the 

* Cameron raised a regiment called the 79th or Cameron High- 
landers in 1794. This was drafted into the 42nd in 1797, after which 
Cameron raised a second regiment under the same name which 
served in Holland in 1799. The above story is also told by Colonel 
W. K. Stuart, Reminiscences of a Soldier, II., 233. 

i8io.] HILL AND REYNIER. 137 

2nd Battalion 66th before he found himself com- 
manding the brigade of which the 66th formed a 
part. It consisted, besides, of the 3rd Buffs (ist 
Battalion), 3ist Huntingdonshire (2nd Battalion) 
and 48th Northamptonshire Regiments. 

In consequence of Reynier's threatening to cross 
the Tagus, General Hill wrote, on July i3th, that 
he should, in consequence, incline to his left, and 
hold everything prepared to cross at Villa Velha if 
he found him [Reynier] serious in crossing the 
river. Accordingly, on the i5th, Hill set off to 
Alpalhao to be ready to act on either side of the 
Tagus.* As will be seen from Colborne's next 
letter, Reynier crossed as anticipated, upon which 
Hill crossed also. 

" Camp near Atalaya, 

"25th July, 1 8 10. 

" My dear Fanny, We are on the march, encamping 
every night. Be it known to you, I am now a very great 
man, and if I continue so, a few days (or weeks) more, 
my situation must either prove advantageous to me or 
much the reverse. I command a very fine brigade, by 
accident, and we most probably shall be engaged in a short 
time. At present we are watching General Regnier's 
march, who crossed the Tagus from Spanish Estremadura, 
which naturally led General Hill's division to cross also, 
and advance in a parallel line to defend that part of the 
frontier of Portugal between the Tagus and Lord Welling- 
ton's right. On the 23rd inst. General R. Craufurd's Divi- 
sion was severely engaged in front of the Coa, and having 
to contend with very superior numbers, was obliged to 
retire behind that river. His loss amounts to 250 and 23 

* Sidney's Life of Lord Hill, pp. 134, 135. 


" This climate is very changeable, as well as that of 
Sloane-street. The first three marches several men died 
on the road from the excessive heat, but these last two 
nights we have been made rather uncomfortable by in- 
cessant rains and cold, sharp winds. The officers do not 
suffer much from these changes, as they have tents, but the 
men have no kind of shelter from rain. 

" One year since I have seen you ! Time seems to have 
taken huge strides; and the events of the first part of 
1809 are so fresh in my memory that the intermediate 
occurrences are forgotten. It is thus we get old without 
perceiving the advance of Time, and but for our grey hairs 
might dispute his claim. Most affectionately yours, 


" Camp near Atalaya, 

" 28th July. 

" My dear Alethea, We have now a short halt, and as 
one does not know when there will be another, I will 
acquaint you with our proceedings. 

" I thank you for your letters, and if you knew the 
pleasure I experience at seeing your hand you would write 
every post. Blots I always admired, as I think I once told 
you; they are certain indications of sincerity and first 
thoughts. Therefore, recollect, the more, the better. 

" I am now generally on my horse the whole day, but 
nothing shall prevent me from sending you a few lines. 

" General Reynier, who commanded a corps of French to 
the south of the Tagus, suddenly passed to the north side, 
which obliged us to follow his example, and we are now 
not far distant from him, but doubtful by what route he 
intends to enter Portugal. General Robert Craufurd was 
attacked on the 23rd inst Two regiments bore the prin- 
cipal attack, 43rd and 95th Regiments. They behaved 
very well, and drove back the enemy three times. General 
Craufurd's position being too far advanced, [he] retired 
behind the Coa in the night. 


" I am so fortunate (or unfortunate) as to command a 
brigade at present. Such a thing will probably not come 
in my way again for many years. Thus, if we are to be 
engaged, it would be better, perhaps, for me that the attack 
should take place immediately. Not that I am so selfish 
or unfeeling as to wish the experiment tried without an 
object, or on my own account The less fighting we have 
now, the more effectually we shall be able to oppose the 
enemy if forced to act on the defensive. 

" Let me hear from you constantly, my dear Alethea, 
and believe me, your affectionate brother, 

" J. C." 

From the beginning of August, Hill occupied a 
strong position at Sarzedas, near Castello Branco, 
with Reynier in his front at Zarza la Mayor. Col- 
borne was warned to be on his guard, as the French 
might attack him any day. So he had the troops 
out daily to practise them in different manoeuvres, 
that they might never be taken unawares. At night 
he used to patrol, and he was always on the 
qui vive; so much so, that a colonel in his brigade, 
not liking the system, and thinking it would be worse 
when the enemy did come, made his appearance 
one day with his head tied up on the score of ill- 
ness, and, to the amusement of his officers, got leave 
to go home. 

Wellington, meanwhile, was watching Massena, 
who was prosecuting the siege of Almeida, and it 
was expected that, when Almeida had fallen, Mas- 
sena would try to redeem his promise of invading 
Portugal and driving the English into the sea, and 
that Reynier would be required to join him. By 
the beginning of September Almeida was destroyed 
by the blowing up of its magazine, and consequently 


surrendered, and on the i2th Hill perceived that 
Reynier was marching northwards, and wrote that 
he was himself prepared to cross the Zezere. On 
the 20th, by .Wellington's orders, Hill was at 
Espinhal, and on the 2ist at Foz d'Aronce. Lord 
Wellington, falling back, took his stand on the 
Sierra Busaco, prepared, from that stronghold, to 
defy Massena, the " spoilt child of victory," with 
Reynier and Ney and nearly 70,000 of Napoleon's 
conquering troops. 

" The battle of Busaco," Colborne said, in later 
years, " was gained solely in consequence of Hill's 
precise attention to Wellington's orders, for which 
he was always remarkable, so much so, that the 
Duke once remarked to me, ' The best of Hill is 
that I always know where to find him.' On this 
occasion he had desired Hill, if he saw the French 
making a move, immediately to march and join him, 
with other directions how to proceed should such 
and such things occur. General Stewart remarked 
to me, c A very pleasant situation Hill's is. He has 
been given the choice of acting in eleven different 
situations.' I was standing with Sir Rowland on 
the roof of a house, when we saw the Portuguese 
outposts driven in, and at once concluded that 
Reynier had crossed the Tagus. Sir Rowland 
gave orders for the army to march that very day, 
and for five days we and Reynier were marching 
in parallel columns about 50 miles apart. If 
we had not reached Busaco in time, Wellington's 
position would have been untenable, and he could 
not have fought the battle." 

On the 26th September Hill moved across the 

i8io.] BATTLE OF BUSACO. 141 

Mondego and led his troops up the steep mountain 
of Busaco, and quickly disposed them on the right 
of Wellington's army. At the foot of the position 
were 25,000 Portuguese about the same number 
as the troops of Wellington and Hill behind them. 
At dawn on the 27th the attack began. Massena 
sent his troops up the heights and, ignorant of the 
presence of Hill's and Leith's forces, tried to turn 
Wellington's right. " To the surprise of the French, 
the forces under these officers suddenly emerged 
from their previous concealment and halted at the 
spot whence the brave 74th had just driven back a 
column of the enemy." But the French made no 
second venture, and Hill's division, though it had 
rendered essential service, was not engaged. 5 * 

" Camp near St. Miguel, 

" 2gth September, 1810. 

" My dear Alethea, On the 2/th inst the French 
attacked our line on the heights of Vusacos [Busaco] early 
in the morning. It was a fine sight I say sight, for our 
division was not engaged. The enemy was permitted to 
ascend almost to the top of the hill where our line was 
posted, but was driven back in every part with great loss. 
Massena commanded ; his killed and wounded amount to 
3,000. This action has very much changed the appear- 
ance of affairs in Portugal. The Portuguese troops have 
established their character with the exception of one regi- 
ment of Militia. They behaved in a most gallant manner, 
and full as well as the British. We expected to be at- 
tacked again on the 28th, but we now find the enemy 
quitted his position on the night after the action, and is 
supposed to have moved to our left, or towards Oporto. 

* Sidney's Life of Lord Hill, pp. 140143. 


I still command the brigade, but I am afraid a senior 
officer will arrive before we are engaged. Most affection- 
ately yours, 

"J. C." 

The supposition mentioned by Colborne, that 
Massena had moved towards Oporto, caused 
Wellington to withdraw from the Sierra de Busaco, 
while General Hill, crossing the Mondego, marched 
on San Miguel, where he endeavoured to watch 
the French movements. Thence he marched by 
Santarem to Alhandra, four leagues from Lisbon, 
which he reached on 8th October. The retreat of 
the British forces before Massena's advance caused 
indescribable misery to the inhabitants of the country 
now abandoned. They were all ordered, on pain 
of death, to leave their houses, and destroy all the 
property they could not transport. The appalling 
scenes which marked this flight of a whole people 
remained in the memory of all soldiers who wit- 
nessed them. When Sir Harry Smith, in February, 
1848, met the Boers of Natal trekking over the 
Drakensberg with Pretorius, he stated in his des- 
patch to the Colonial Secretary that he had seen 
nothing to resemble it except at the time of 
Massena's invasion of Portugal. 

This retreat proved the rare foresight of the 
British commander, who silently, since the preceding 
winter, had been constructing in front of Lisbon 
the impregnable lines of Torres Vedras from the 
Tagus to the sea. Within those lines the British 
army stood secure, waiting for the moment when 
Massena, foiled of his aim, should be forced, by 
want of provisions, to withdraw his host. 



Colborne, in an article written in later years, spoke 
in glowing terms of the generalship shown by Lord 
Wellington in 1810: 

" Between the months of February and August, 
1 8 10, the affairs of the Peninsula appeared almost 
hopeless. Andalusia had quietly submitted. The 
last large army of the Spaniards had been dispersed. 
Seville was occupied; the Isla de Leon menaced 
by a considerable corps. A few moveable columns 
maintained easily the communications of the French 
with Madrid. Several corps of Spaniards were 
actually in the service of the intrusive king. 
Massena had taken Ciudad Rodrigo, was besieging 
Almeida, and preparing to march on Lisbon through 
Beira with an army of about 70,000. Lord 
Wellington manoeuvred in Beira and in the 
Alemtejo with an army of about 50,000 English and 
Portuguese. He had to contend against a Ministry 
frightened at the risk of exposing a British army, 
and while he, unmoved by their fears, was carrying 
into execution one of the most scientific campaigns 
of those days, the British Ministers were thinking of 
preparations for embarking the troops, and, we 
believe, did send out an engineer officer to make a 
report as to the facilities of embarking. The 
responsibility of repelling the invasion rested on the 
shoulders of Lord Wellington. He had also to con- 
tend against another faction in the Portuguese 
Government that imagined he was withdrawing. As 
soon as it became known that his intention was to 
retire ultimately on Lisbon, the Bishop of Oporto 
drew up a strong remonstrance, in which he 
threatened that the Portuguese troops should be 


withdrawn from Lord Wellington's command if he 
did not defend the frontier. And it is a curious fact 
that this violent remonstrance arrived at Rio 
Janeiro in the same month that Lord Wellington's 
despatches were received by King John, telling of 
the retreat of Massena from the lines. If the corre- 
spondence of Lord Wellington, Lord Hill, and the 
detached generals with the Ministry is ever pub- 
lished, those are the documents by which Lord 
Wellington's genius and foresight will be judged. 
We believe that there never was an invading army 
so ably managed, or whose movements appeared to 
be made more subordinate to the inferior force 
opposed to it, than that of Massena by the British 

During the late autumn of 1810 Colborne was 
stationed just outside the lines," at their right 
extremity, where he occupied the town of Alhandra, 
on the bank of the Tagus, and the advanced posts 
near Villa Franca. It was a post of the most arduous 
responsibility and labour, but for that reason it had 
been committed to him. General Beresford, on 
joining the army, had said to Wellington, " I recom- 
mend you to employ Colborne ; he is equal to any- 
thing." For weeks the picquets were attacked every 
day, and Colborne never took off his spurs. The first 
time he did so, through sleeping near the Tagus, he 
caught the ague. At nine o'clock he would take a 
hasty breakfast, that being the hour at which there 
was least likelihood of an attack. He scarcely ever 
had a time of greater excitement and more work, 
but he was happy, though officers and men con- 
stantly prophesied that he would suffer for it after- 

iSio.] AT ALHANDRA. 145 

wards. Now it was that his eye became so practised 
that he astonished his friends by the distance at 
which he could discern objects. 

Colborne told the following stories of this time. 
The first illustrates the relations of French and 
English to one another during the war: 

"At Alhandra some of my brigade were drinking 
in a wine-house with some French soldiers. They 
took one of them prisoner, and brought him to me. 
I said, however, ' This will never do, to take a man 
prisoner v/hen you were quite friendly with him 
before, in the wine-house.' So I sent him back to 
General Reynier's Division under charge of an 
officer of my regiment. The officer told me that 
when he was delivered up to the French general, 
the latter gave him playfully two or three slaps with 
his glove, saying, ' You silly fellow, to allow yourself 
to be taken prisoner in that manner.' 

" Officers at that time were encouraged to enter 
the Portuguese service. A step in advance of their 
present rank was held out as an inducement, and in 
the Portuguese service they often rose very rapidly. 
Ashworth entered the Portuguese service as a cap- 
tain, and very soon had the command of a brigade. 
This brigade was attached to our army, and soon 
came to serve with General Hill's division, to which 
Ashworth's own regiment was attached, so that, 
being a brigadier-general, he had to post the picquets 
and give orders to his former commanding officer, 
who was very angry, saying, * What, do you really 
suppose I am going to receive orders from you, who 
were one of my captains a few months ago ? ' * Oh,' 
said Ashworth, * I've nothing to do with that ; you 


must arrange that with General Hill. These are my 
orders.' " 

" Alhandra, 

"gth November, 1810. 

" My dear Alethea, It gives me great pleasure to see 
your handwriting some four or five months after the date 
of your letters. They find their way at last, as you ob- 
serve, after a long march. I wish you would write always 
by the Packet, by which means I should have the pleasure 
of receiving your letters in six or seven days from 
Sloane-street, now we are so near Lisbon. By the last 
post we had the London papers of the 2/th October at 
the army on the 5th of November. 

" I really have been very actively employed since my 
arrival in this part of Portugal, and am not often off my 
horse, as I command a post outside the lines the town of 
Alhandra, where part of my brigade is stationed, and [which 
it is] destined to defend. The unfortunate inhabitants have 
all left their houses, and their furniture, poor people, is 
converted into barriers, &c. How should you like to see 
your piano, writing tables, chairs and trunks heaped 
together at the south end of Sloane-street to impede the 
enemy's march? I have never seen so much distress and 
misery experienced by the mass of the people as in the 
late flight of the inhabitants towards the capital Not a 
person remained at his home, whole towns and villages 
decamped, taking with them only what a cart could con- 
vey, and leaving the rest of their property to be pillaged 
by the armies of friends and enemies. We have been 
marching constantly since June, so you must make some 
allowance for my irregular correspondence. 

" The French, instead of entering Portugal with 100,000 
men, and sending a force by the Alemtejo, have had the 
folly to undertake the difficult task of marching to Lisbon 
with about 60,000, persuaded that we were to fight a battle 
and embark. With this idea Massena followed us close, 
but on viewing our position on a chain of high hills that 

1 8 io.] AT ALHANDRA. 147 

run from the Tagus to the sea, about five leagues from 
Lisbon, he halted, and has now remained opposite to us a 
month, without undertaking anything of importance. 
Various are the opinions about his future operations and 
whether he will be obliged to retire for want of provisions. 
I am inclined to think that he will endeavour to maintain 
himself until his reinforcements arrive, or that he will not 
fall back farther than the River Zezere, a formidable 
obstacle in the winter to an enemy invading or pursued. 
But I see no difficulty he will find in retiring, should he 
be allowed to establish a bridge of boats, about which he 
is supposed to be now employed. 

" We have a very large force, but so composed that we 
could not well venture from our heights to attack Portu- 
guese, Spaniards, English, Germans, &c., militia, volunteers 
and ordinanzos. With this medley we shall remain, I sup- 
pose, in our forts and works which cover the hills, and 
leave the rest to Fortune and Massena's evil genius. Your 
most affectionate brother. 

" Remember, my letters are sacred, and must not be 

( 148 ) 



A WEEK after this letter was written, on i6th 
November, Massena retired to Santarem, and a day 
later Hill's Division crossed the Tagus by a pon- 
toon bridge, and followed the enemy to Chamusca, 
where Colborne's Brigade took up its quarters till 
the following spring, Colborne having charge of the 
posts on the Tagus, at its confluence with the 
Zezere. Hill falling ill, the command of the divi- 
sion was held during December by Sir William 
Stewart, Marshal Beresford being appointed to 
relieve him about ist January, 1811. 

" Just before the retreat of the French, when we 
were on one side of the Tagus and they on the other, 
the most amusing conversations used to be held 
between groups of officers of the two armies. 
There was a Captain Campbell, of the 42nd, who 
was a funny fellow, and used to make all sorts of 
jokes about their retreat, and end up by telling them 
that they had been out all night trying to get pro- 
visions. They used to ask us all sorts of questions. 
I had had a bridge put up across a rivulet near, which 
looked very pretty, and they asked what it was for. 


4 Cest pour une modele] Campbell said. They 
asked, ' Who is that officer always riding about? ' 
* Why, he is commanding the brigade.' ' What 
regiment does he belong to ? ' ' The colonel of the 
66th/ ' That is very odd ; our 66th is here. You 
have it opposite to you/ 

' The bridge I had just had made. A rivulet 
came through our encampment, and I had some 
companies on one side and some on the other. It 
happened that there was a tree growing just in the 
middle of the stream ; so I had four trees cut down 
and cut through the middle, and they were then 
placed so as to rest on the tree in the stream. They 
formed a perfect arch, and looked very pretty. 
When Marshal Beresford came round I invited him 
to ride over with his staff. He was afraid to go at 
first. However, I showed him the way, and he was 
so pleased that when he went back he desired all the 
officers along the line to make a bridge in their divi- 
sions. Soon after, when I rode down, to my great 
amusement, I found them all very busy trying to 
fix a tree in the middle of the stream, not knowing 
that I had found one growing there." 

Napier writes (Book XL, chap, x.) : " (Beresford) 
erected batteries opposite the mouth of the Zezere. 
But against the advice of the engineers, he placed 
them at too great distance from the river, and in 
other respects unsuitable, and offering nothing 
threatening to the enemy; for the French craft 
dropped down frequently towards Santarem without 
hindrance until Colonel Colborne, of the 66th Regi- 
ment, moored a guard-boat close to the mouth of the 
Zezere, disposing fires in such a manner on the banks 


of the Tagus that nothing could pass without being 

On the 6th March Massena quitted Santarem, and 
retreated up the valley of the Mondego towards 
Ciudad Rodrigo, the chief part of the 2nd Division, 
under Sir William Stewart, following him up as far 
as Thomar, and annoying his rear. From Thomar 
the division was ordered to return to the left bank 
of the Tagus to relieve Badajos, which was hard 
pressed. However, on i3th March Badajos had 
fallen, and Campo Mayor was being besieged by 
Mortier. Beresford's instructions were now to 
relieve Campo Mayor and to besiege Olivenca and 
Badajos. Campo Mayor surrendered on 2ist 
March, but the Marshal, being within two 
marches of it, judged that he might surprise the 
besieging corps, and with this view, put his troops 
in motion on the 23rd. In the morning of the 25th 
his advanced guard of cavalry, supported by a 
detachment of infantry under Colonel Colborne, came 
suddenly upon Campo Mayor, just as Latour Mau- 
bourg (who had been left by Mortier to dismantle 
the works) was marching out in confusion with 
880 cavalry, three battalions of infantry, some horse 
artillery, and the battering train of 13 guns. The 
allies pursued him. Colonel Colborne was on the 
right, and at a considerable distance from the enemy, 
but Colonel Head, with the I3th Light Dragoons, 
was on the left, close to them, and supported by 
Colonel Otway with two squadrons of the 7th Portu- 
guese. The French halted with their infantry in 
square and their cavalry formed in their front and 
rear. Colonel Head was directed to attack with 


the two squadrons of the i3th, amounting to 203 
officers and soldiers, and he led them forward with 
the most distinguished gallantry. A regiment of 
French hussars advanced to meet the I3th. Several 
men were overthrown by the shock. The com- 
batants pierced through on both sides, and facing 
about, charged each other again with the most 
heroic bravery. After a sharp sword-conflict the 
hussars who had not been cut down fled. A French 
squadron, formed on the enemy's right, wheeled 
inward and attacked the British left, but the I3th 
overthrew them after a short contest. The French 
continued their flight. The I3th followed, un- 
deterred by the fire of the French infantry. They 
galloped forward, cut down the French gunners, 
and, believing the other brigades would easily dis- 
pose of the French troops thus passed, they con- 
tinued the pursuit. For some time the French 
Dragoons resisted, but their formation soon became 
so completely broken that they surrendered as soon 
as they were overtaken. The pursuit was continued 
at a rapid rate, the object being to gain the front 
and capture the whole, as well as the enormous 
quantity of baggage on the road. But the I3th 
were not aware of what was taking place in their 
rear. The French infantry remained formed in 
square, with the British heavy cavalry in their front. 
The heavies were ordered to advance, and then 
suddenly halted, as Marshal Beresford, who was 
himself with the main body of infantry in the rear, 
had been informed that the I3th had been cut off, 
and the loss of one regiment appeared a serious 
disaster. He said he would wait for the infantry, 


though the 66th and some light infantry were up, 
and the great body of the infantry were not two miles 

The French infantry, thus finding themselves 
unmolested, retired steadily, recovered their artillery, 
and effected their retreat. Meanwhile the I3th 
and some Portuguese squadrons commanded by 
Colonel Otway, who formed as a support during 
the attack, were pursuing the French troopers at 
a rapid pace. On arriving at the bridge of Badajos 
they were fired upon by the guns of that fortress. 
The regiment then halted, and retired to secure the 
prisoners and captured artillery and baggage. Some 
of the French drivers, refusing to surrender, were 
sabred, and the mules were mounted by men of the 
1 3th. The retreat was continued several miles, 
the men in high spirits at their wonderful success. 
At length they were met by the retiring French 
infantry and by all the beaten cavalry which could 
find refuge with it. For a few exhausted dragoons 
to have engaged that body of troops would have 
been madness, and the i3th were forced to abandon 
their captures and make a detour to the right to join 
the army.* 

Colborne told the story himself much after this 
fashion : 

" From my position I could plainly see the 
French evacuate the town, and I saw an admirable 
operation of the i3th Light Dragoons, who passed 
through the French cavalry and dispersed them, 
and if they had been supported by the heavy cavalry, 

* The above account is compiled from the accounts of the affair 
given by Napier, by Burgoyne (Wrottesley's*/r of Sir J. Burgoyne l 
p. 127), and by Cannon, Hist. Record of i$th Dragoons. 


a most excellent coup de main would have been 
achieved, and the whole French force might have 
been made prisoners. But just at the moment 
General Lumley, who commanded the heavy 
cavalry, to my great mortification, sent me a mes- 
sage by his aide-de-camp that the infantry must 
halt, as it was useless in face of the superior 
strength of the enemy to continue the engagement. 
6 The whole of the I3th,' it was added, ' are taken/ 

" I told the aide-de-camp that I had seen the con- 
trary with my own eyes, and I should do no such 
thing. The aide-de-camp said, ' Shall I take the 
general this message ? ' to which I replied, ' Yes, he 
thinks the i3th are taken, but there they are.' 

" However, through this error, the heavy cavalry 
were halted, and the whole operation failed. I was 
so indignant that I expressed myself very warmly 
and General Stewart demanded an explanation, 
thinking my remarks applied to him. I would not 
retract, but would only say, * Whose ever fault it 
was, a most brilliant coup de main has failed/ 
General Stewart, who till then had been one of my 
kindest friends, and who was a most amiable man, 
only said, ' Well, then, in future, Colonel Colborne, 
I shall only address you in the most official manner/ 
and thenceforth he always addressed me as * Dear 
Sir,' instead of ' Dear Colonel/* 

" On the way home I heard a French soldier, one 
of the few prisoners we had taken, offer a ring to 
one of our men who was guarding him, in order to 

* Sir Harry Smith writes in his Autobiography (Vol. I., p. 170): 
" I have often heard Colonel Colborne (Lord Seaton) affirm that if he 
were asked to name the bravest man he had ever seen (qnd no one 
was a better judge) he should name Sir William Stewart." 


secure his good offices. It was very absurd to see 
the man's wish to accept it, contending with his fear 
that it was rather a shabby thing to do. ' Ah, now, 
I don't like to take it from you. I dare say it was 
your sweetheart gave it you. 5 At the same time, 
he took it." 

Napier thinks that after thus recovering Campo 
Mayor, Beresford, by marching on Merida, might 
have brought about the fall of Badajos. He 
neglected this opportunity, and put his fatigued 
troops into quarters round Elvas. 

" Elvas, 

"30th March, 1811. 

" My dear Alethea, You may be assured that when I 
am seriously ill I shall let you know in due time. I had 
an intermittent fever in December and January, but with 
the aid of a powerful ally called bark, I made a hard battle 
with the enemy, and fairly fought off my illness by being 
my own physician. 

" The brigade I command was posted opposite the 
mouth of the Tagus, where the French had collected 60 
or 70 boats. It was a very interesting part until Massena 
retreated. As I was much occupied there, it most probably 
was the cause of my recovery. We only followed the 
French as far as Tomar, and then returned to the south 
of the Tagus, under the command of Marshal Beresford. 
The army under Soult and Mortier having taken Badajos 
[i3th March] and Campo Mayor [2ist March], we pro- 
ceeded immediately towards the latter place with 20,000 
men. The French, who did not expect us, were nearly sur- 
prised in Campo Mayor, and we had a grand chace after 
them for two leagues. Their force amounted to goo 
cavalry and about 1,000 infantry. I had not the smallest 
doubt but that we should have taken them all, but to our 
great mortification they reached Badajos owing to a glaring 
error on our part. 


" We are now about to cross the Guadiana, and if things 
be tolerably managed a great change may be produced in 
the affairs of Spain. My friend General Graham has 
gained great credit in the affair near Cadiz,* although the 
result of the action was of no importance. 

" What a narrow escape I have had of making "20,000 
in a few hours! I allude to General Abercrombie's ex- 
pedition.t Had I gone with him I should have been at 
least "20,000 richer. I think I could have disposed of 
that sum admirably, but, as we have all the honour here, 
and cannot look into futurity, I bear my loss with my usual 

" It will now be a long time before I return to England ; 
therefore I mean to dispose of my poor Calabrian,J or shall 
I give him to Mrs. Bunbury ? I have a great idea of offer- 
ing him to that lady, as she seemed very fond of him in 
Sicily. I shall take your advice on that subject. Tell 
me in your next what I shall do with him. 

" There is another lieutenant-colonel appointed to the 
66th. He has applied to come out to this country, but I 
understand he has been refused. This secures me from 
the East Indies for some time. Your most affectionate 

"J. C." 

Beresford halted at Elvas till he could procure the 
means of crossing the Guadiana at Jerumenha. On 
the 7th April all his troops had crossed. On the 
nth Beresford took post at Albuhera, after leaving 
Cole to take Olivenga, which surrendered on the 

* Battle of Barrosa, 5th March. 

f General Sir John Abercromby, Commander in Chief at Bombay, 
had just effected the conquest of Mauritius. He was the second son 
of Sir Ralph, and had himself served at the Helder (1799) and in 
Egypt (1801). 

* See p. 122. Apparently Antonio had been left in England. 

Louisa Emilia, daughter of General the Hon. H. E. Fox, under 
whom Colborne served in Sicily, married Colonel Bunbury, afterwards 
Sir H. E, Bunbury, in 1807. She died in 1828. 


1 5th. The whole army was then concentrated about 
Zafra, ready to undertake the siege of Badajos, 
which was invested on 5th May. Beresford's head- 
quarters were now at Almendralejo. 

On 2nd May, as Napier writes, " Colonel John 
Colborne was detached with a brigade of the 2nd 
Division, two Spanish guns, and two squadrons of 
cavalry to curb the French inroads, and to raise the 
confidence of the people. 5 * Colborne, a man of 
singular talent for war, by rapid marches and sudden 
changes of direction, in concert with Villamur, created 
great confusion amongst the enemy's parties. He 
intercepted several convoys, and obliged the French 
troops to quit Fuente Ovejuna, La Granja, Azuaga, 
and most of the other frontier towns, and he imposed 
upon Latour Maubourg with so much address that 
the latter, imagining a great force was at hand, 
abandoned Guadalcanal also, and fell back to 

" Having cleared the country on that side Col- 
borne attempted to surprise the fortified post of 
Benalcazar, and by a hardy attempt was like to have 
carried it; for, riding on to the drawbridge with a 
few officers, in the grey of the morning, he sum- 
moned the commandant to surrender, as the only 
means of saving himself from the Spanish army 
which was close at hand and would give no quarter. 
The French officer, amazed at the appearance of 

* In the instructions given to Colborne on 2Qth April by Colonel 
D'Urban, it is stated : '"' The object of this movement is to check the 
inroads of the enemy's parties of pillage, to give confidence to the 
people of Estremadura, and to cover the collection of our own supplies, 
while it will announce in Andalusia the neighbourhood of a British 
force by showing troops upon the frontier." 


the party, was yet too resolute to yield, and Col- 
borne, quick to perceive the attempt had failed, 
galloped off under a few straggling shots. After 
this, taking to the mountains, he rejoined the army 
without any loss."* He had marched 250 miles in 
ii days.f 

The following letter was written early in the course 
of these operations : 

" Bivouac near Magilla. 

" Dear Sir, We marched from Llera yesterday evening 
ill consequence of having heard that the enemy had made 
a requisition for bread and forage at Magilla, and we 
arrived in time to secure a part of the provisions which 
had been ordered for him. The magistrates seem very 
glad to see us t and I think we shall have no difficulty in 
procuring provisions. 

" I find the enemy has about 3,000 infantry at Guadal- 
canal, 300 cavalry at Azuaga, and 200 infantry at Fuente 
Ovejuna ; the remainder of his force is at Cazalla and 
Constantino, amounting in the whole (including- the troops, 
at Guadalcanal, &c.) to about 5,000, 800 of which is 
cavalry. I intend moving to Granja this evening. Should 
I deviate from the original route by marching from Granja 
towards Fuente Ovejuna (the direct road to Cordova), it 
is very probable the enemy will retire from Guadalcanal 
to Cazalla. I shall be guided by the intelligence I receive 
at Granja, and will inform you if I make any change in 
your route. It appears the French have been reinforced 
from Cordova with about 1,000 infantry since they retired 
from Badajos. Your faithful servant, 


" Lt-Colonel. 

" To Col. D'Urban." 

* Napier, Bk. XII., chnp. vi. 
f Groves, The 66fh Regiment, p. 50. 


On his return to the army on i4th May, Colborne 
found it in a new situation. In consequence of the 
news that Soult had marched from Seville and 
effected a junction with Latour Maubourg, Beresford 
had raised the siege of Badajos, and was preparing to 
receive battle on the heights of Albuhera. 

Beresford's force consisted of about 32,000 men, 
of whom only 7,000 were British. Colborne's bri- 
gade was posted on the left of the line near the 
village of Albuhera, the Spanish and Portuguese 
held the right. 

Soult arrived on the evening of I5th May, and 
perceiving that Beresford had neglected to occupy a 
wooded range of hills on the right of his position, 
posted 15,000 men and 30 guns there. Of the 
presence of this force Beresford remained com- 
pletely ignorant. The French advanced on the 
position on the morning of the 1 6th, Godinot making 
a feint of attacking the village, while Soult led a 
heavy column of infantry supported by artillery 
against the Spaniards on the right. He soon drove 
them from the heights and began to deploy his force 
along the position. Colborne's brigade was hurried 
up to check this movement, and had almost suc- 
ceeded in driving the French infantry back, when 
a strong force of Polish lancers and chasseurs, which 
had got round the right of the line unperceived, 
charged the brigade in rear and threw it into con- 
fusion. " Our men," wrote Colonel Clarke of the 
66th, " now ran into groups of six or eight to do as 
best they could. The officers snatched up muskets 
and joined them, determined to sell their lives 
dearly. Quarter was not asked, and rarely given." 


In this melee Colborne's brigade suffered dread- 
fullythe "Buffs," 48th and 66th being nearly 
annihilated. At length Brigadier Lumley, seeing 
the desperate state of affairs from the plain below, 
sent four squadrons of heavy cavalry against the lan- 
cers, and at the same time the 29th Foot, Hoghton's 
Brigade and some artillery came up to the assist- 
ance of their well-nigh vanquished comrades. The 
fight was now continued with redoubled fury and 
awful carnage. Marshal Beresford, in spite of all 
his efforts, could not get the Spaniards to advance, 
the ammunition began to fail, and another French 
column was established in advance upon the right 
flank. Beresford saw nothing for it but to give the 
order for retreat. But at this critical moment 
Colonel Henry Hardinge, entirely on his own 
responsibility, rode off to the 4th Division, which 
had just come up from Badajos, and induced its 
leader, Lowry Cole, to advance, supported by 
Colonel Abercromby with the 3rd Brigade of the 
2nd Division. Cole mounted the hill, drove off the 
lancers, recaptured the guns and dashed up to the 
right of Hoghton's Brigade, just as Abercromby 
passed to the front on its left. The appearance of 
this " astonishing infantry " turned the fortune of the 
day, and the mighty mass of Frenchmen, in Napier's 
words, u went headlong down the steep." " Eighteen 
hundred unwounded men, the remnant of 6,000 
unconquerable British soldiers, stood triumphant on 
the fatal hill."* 

* Harry Smith, writing to Colborne from the Cape in 1832, speaks of 
" Those glorious days, so nobly kept alive in the gigantic language of 
our old comrade, Bill Napier, ' stood triumphant on the fatal hill.' " 


After the battle of Albuhera the 3rd, 2 9th, 3ist, 
48th, 57th and 66th Regiments were so reduced in 
numbers that they were formed into a Provisional 

To the Rev. Duke Yonge. 

11 1 8th May, 1811. 

" My dear Duke, Since April the brigade I commanded 
has been in continual movement During the siege of 
Badajos I was sent into the Sierra Morena as a moveable 
column to attract the enemy's attention, and we performed 
a march of about 260 miles in a very short time. Marshal 
Soult was collecting his force at Seville, and on the I5th 
his advanced guard arrived at St Martha, three leagues 
from our position. Marshal Beresford was obliged to 
retire from his lines before Badajos and concentrate his 
force. The Spaniards, under Blake and Balesteros, joined 
our army on the night of the I5th, and we occupied a posi- 
tion near Albuera. Soult began his attack at 8 a.m., and 
having menaced the village of Albuera, I was ordered into 
it, but as soon as I had marched there, the enemy com- 
menced his attack on the right, and was in the act of turn- 
ing it Our brigade was then ordered to occupy the 
ground where the Spaniards should have been, and we 
were brought up under very disadvantageous circum- 
stances, and obliged to deploy under the enemy's fire. The 
regiments were ordered to charge before the deployment 
was complete, and without support ; in the act of charging 
two very heavy columns, a regiment of Polish cavalry 
passed by our right, which was unprotected, and having 
gained our rear, the three right-hand regiments were 
almost destroyed. The Spaniards on our left behaved 
very well, but, as we had not any support, the few who 
were not killed or wounded were taken prisoners. The 4th 
Division came up and drove the enemy [off ?], supported by 

* The above account of Albuhera is condensed from Groves, The 
66th Regiment, pp. 50 56. 


the 2nd and 3rd brigades of the division. Soult retreated 
about 2 p.m. Our loss has been immense, nearly 6,000, 
the greater part British. The enemy retreated to Almen- 
dralejo last night, and I believe we are to pursue him 
immediately. This has been a most unfortunate affair for 
me, although I had nothing to do with the arrangement, 
but merely obeyed the orders of General Stewart. Yet, 
it being my first trial, and having had so considerable a 
command, it is truly unfortunate for your brother. I did 
not receive any injury personally, although in the hands of 
the Poles some minutes. Poor Colonel Duckworth was 
killed leading on the 48th ; he received three shots at the 
same time. His horse was wounded. Pray communicate 
this sad intelligence to Mrs. Duckworth. I was very inti- 
mate with him. The poor fellow had been long sighing to 
revisit his home. You can easily conceive what a stroke 
this has been on me, and yet if Bonaparte had been in my 
place nothing could have saved the three battalions. The 
enemy had 4,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry. Yours 


Colborne's conduct at Albuhera received the 
following commendation from his superior officer : 

" The conduct of the 1st Brigade, under the command 
of Lieutenant-Colonel Colborne, was very gallant. 
Although the loss in prisoners and in colours has fallen 
on that part of the division, you are probably aware, 
Sir, that the 1st Brigade was suddenly attacked in flank 
and rear by a body of the enemy's cavalry, while it was 
engaged in the almost desperate effort of charging the 
whole attacking force of the enemy. The form of the hill 
up which that brigade was so ably led to the charge by its 
commander, and the obscurity occasioned by the smoke of 
musquetry and a heavy squall of rain prevented the 
enemy's cavalry from being either seen or sufficiently 
early resisted. 


" The colours of the 2nd Battalion of the 48th and 66th 
Regiments were unfortunately lost on this occasion, but 
they were not so lost until the officers who bore them were 
killed. . . . 


" M.-General. 

" H.E. Marshal Sir W. Beresford, 
" I ;th May." 


l8ll-l8l2. WlTH THE 52ND IN THE LlGHT 


MEANWHILE, on the i8th July Colborne had left the 
66th Regiment and become lieutenant-colonel of 
the 52nd. It was no slight acknowledgment of his 
military qualities that he was thus appointed to a 
regiment which had been trained to light infantry 
service by Sir John Moore, and now, with the 2nd 
Battalion 95th Regiment (Rifles) and one regiment 
of Portuguese Cagadores, formed part of the 2nd 
Brigade of Craufurd's famous Light Division. 

That the appointment was specially gratifying to 
Colborne is shown by the following letter of Sir H. 
Torrens, dated " Horse Guards, 6th August, 

" I have derived great satisfaction ... to find that 
I had anticipated your wishes by having submitted your 
name to the Commander-in-Chief for an exchange into 
the 52nd. I thought I could not be far wrong in judging 
of your anxiety to get the command of a corps in which 
your much-lamented friend and general took such pride, 
and the discipline and distinguished character of which he 
so permanently established by his peculiar zeal and mili- 
tary talents." 

G 2 


On the 5th May preceding the 52nd had taken 
part in the battle of Fuentes de Onoro. In con- 
nexion with this battle Colborne told the following 
story " Colonel Mainwaring, of the 5ist, was placed 
in a position in which he thought he was sure to be 
surrounded by the French. So he called his officers 
and said, ' We are sure of being taken or killed ; 
therefore, we'll burn the colours/ Accordingly, 
they brought the colours and burnt them with all 
funeral pomp and buried the ashes, or kept them, I 
believe. It so happened that the French never 
came near them. Lord Wellington was exceedingly 
angry when he heard of it, as he knew well enough 
where he had placed the regiment. So he ordered 
Mainwaring under arrest and tried him by court- 
martial. An old colonel, who undertook his defence, 
said, ' I believe it was something to do with religious 
principles! ' Oh,' said Lord Wellington, * if it was 
a matter of religious principles, I have nothing more 
to do with it. You may take him out of arrest ; but 
send him to Lisbon/ So he went to Lisbon, and was 
never allowed to command his regiment again ; he 
was sent home." 

The 2nd Brigade of the Light Division was 
commanded in the summer of 1811 by Major- 
General Drummond, and after his death in the 
autumn, by Major-General Vandeleur. With these 
generals, as major of brigade, was Harry Smith, a 
born soldier like Colborne himself, and one who 
quickly recognized in Colborne a leader after his 
own heart. And though in temperament the two 
were widely different, Smith ardent, effusive and 
romantic, Colborne somewhat self-restrained and 

i8u.] INVALIDED HOME. 165 

reserved, a mutual attachment grew up between 
them which lasted so long as both lived. 

At the moment when Colborne was appointed to 
the Light Division, of which he was to be one of the 
prime heroes, it was beginning a long march north- 
wards from Monte Reguengo, near Campo Mayor, 
to the banks of the Agueda. After being cantoned 
for five weeks at Saugo, on 26th September the 52nd 
joined Wellington's army at Guinaldo. Hence the 
army retired without a battle, the Light Division 
forming the rearguard. After some harassing 
marches, the army went into cantonments on ist 

During part of the autumn Colborne had 
been obliged to be in England owing to a 
severe attack of ague. According to the diary 
of Miss Yonge, his future wife, he arrived in 
England about 26th August. He went down from 
London on i6th September to his brother-in-law's 
house at Antony, where Miss Yonge was staying. 
On the 7th October the party at Antony moved to 
Puslinch, and on the loth Colborne left for Fal- 
mouth to return to the Peninsula. From this time 
Miss Yonge corresponded with him, and there is no 
doubt that he had asked her to be his wife. He 
sailed on 27th October, and reached Lisbon on the 
1 3th November. 

The 52nd were at Zamora from the i7th 
October to the I4th December, when tKey 
changed their quarters to Las Agallios, where the 
men were employed till the 5th or 6th January in 
making fascines and gabions for the siege of Ciudad 
Rodrigo. Before any progress, however, could be 


made with the siege, it was necessary to capture the 
outlying fort of San Francisco. This operation was 
entrusted to Lieutenant-Colonel Colborne, and the 
judgment and skill he showed in effecting it more 
than justified the selection. It is referred to by 
Colborne himself as showing that " success in 
assaults can only be expected from high discipline 
and order, and not from bayonets and forlorn hopes 
without a fire on the defences." He gave the 
following account of it in a letter to Captain Moor- 
som* (to be used in Moorsom's History of the $2nd 
Regiment), dated "Dublin, 26th April, 1859." 

" The Light Division marched from El Bodon, or near 
it, early on the 8th and reached the ground in front 
of the Upper Teson about noon. The detachments 
intended for the assault of the redoubt were not 
volunteers ; they were companies commanded by the 
senior captains of each battalion ; two from the 43rd, 
four from the 52nd Regiment, two from the 95th, and one 
from each of the Portuguese battalions.t Four companies 
were selected from the advanced guard to occupy the 
crest of the glacis and open fire, while the party with the 
ladders, in charge of Captain Thompson, of the Engineers, 
in the rear of these companies could be brought up and 
be assisted in placing the ladders for the assault. In the 
rear of the whole the companies destined for the actual 
escalade followed. In this order we started and advanced, 

* Communicated to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Mockler- Ferryman. 

f Sir Harry Smith writes in his Autobiography (I., p. 55) : " When 
the detachments of the Light Division brigades were parading, my 
brigade was to furnish 400 men. I understood four companies, and 
when Colonel Colborne was counting them he said, ' There are not the 
complement of men.' I said, ' I am sorry if I have mistaken.' ' Oh, 
never mind, run and bring another company.' I mention this to show 
what a cool, noble fellow he is. Many an officer would have stormed 
like fury. He only thought of storming Fort San Francisco, which he 
carried in a glorious manner." 


after a caution had been given by me in respect to silence, 
and each captain had been instructed precisely where he 
was to post his company and how he was to proceed on 
arriving near the redoubt. An officer of the 95th and two 
sergeants had been stationed before dark on the brow of 
the hill to mark the angle of the redoubt covering the 
steeple of the church in Ciudad Rodrigo. When we 
reached the point marked by the officer of the 95th, I 
dismounted and again called out the four captains of the 
advanced guard and ordered the front company to occupy 
the front face and the 2nd the right, &c. Captain 
Mulcaster, of the Engineers, suggested that it would be 
better to wait for the light ladders which were coming up. 
I, however, thought that no time should be lost, and pro- 
ceeded with the very heavy ladders which had been made 
during the day. When about fifty yards from the redoubt 
I gave the word ' double-quick.' This movement and the 
rattling of canteens alarmed the garrison ; but the 
defenders had only time to fire one round from their 
guns before each company had taken its post on the crest 
of the glacis and opened fire. All this was effected 
without the least confusion, and not a man was seen in 
the redoubt after the fire had commenced. The party 
with the ladders soon arrived and placed them in the 
ditch against the palisades, so that they were ready when 
Captain Mein, of the 52nd, came up with the escalading 
companies. They got into the ditch by descending on 
the ladders and then placing them against the fraises. 
The only fire from which the assailants suffered was from 
shells and grenades thrown over from the rampart. During 
these proceedings Gurwood, of the 52nd, came from the 
gorge and mentioned that a company could get in by the 
gorge with ladders. I desired him to take any he could 
find. Thompson, of the Engineers, had no opportunity 
of being of use ; the whole arrangements were executed 
by the exertions of captains of companies, and the order 
preserved by them. We entered the redoubt by the 
ladders safely; no resistance or opposition was made. 


The company at the gorge had tossed open the gate, or 
it had been opened by some of the defenders endeavour- 
ing to escape. Captain Mein, I believe, was wounded 
from a shot from one of our own companies as he was 
mounting on the rampart. Most of the defenders had 
fled to the guard-house. Not one man was killed or 
wounded after we entered the redoubt* The garrison of 
Ciudad Rodrigo opened a heavy fire on the redoubt 
immediately we had taken possession of it. The force 
under my command was collected outside and marched 
down to the rivulet at the bottom of the glacis of the 
Place and covered the working parties opening the first 
parallel till moonlight. Had the redoubt not been taken, 
five days would have been required to attack it regularly. 
The governor had been in the redoubt half an hour before 
we attacked it. The investment, in fact, had been com- 
pleted some days before the 8th by the guerilla cavalry. 
The Light Division returned to El Bodon about 12 on the 
Qth, relieved by another division." 

Moorsom thus comments on the story of this 
brilliant achievement : 

" The remarkable success of this assault was 
probably due to the following points: The clear 
conception and explanation of the plan of attack, 
so that each individual in charge knew what he had 
to do ; the high discipline and order in which the 
plan was carried out under the eye of the officer 
commanding the party ; and the care taken to cover 
the redoubt with a sheet of fire while the escalade 

* Wellington stated in his despatch: "Two captains and forty- 
seven men were made prisoners : the remainder of the garrison being 
put to the sword in the storm. 11 The latter statement Colborne 
always warmly repudiated. " I think a great many escaped before 
we entered, but all who were there took refuge under the guns, and 
were taken prisoners." When the fort was taken, Colborne says that 
his orderly-sergeant MacCurrie said, in tones of deep feeling, " Thank 
God, that's over." 


was being made, rather than trusting to the rush 
of a few bayonets against many defenders."* 

A reported conversation of Colborne's gives a few 
additional details : 

" It was pitch dark that night, and the firing went 
on so long that the rest of the army thought we 
should not take the fort, and were very anxious 
about it. We were firing into the fort from the 
glacis across the ditch, but our men could not be 
seen. The only danger was of our firing on each 
other. The firing was so steady and continuous 
that I could not see any sign of the enemy on the 
ramparts, though I could see into the fort most 

Colborne thus reported on his achievement : 

" El Bodon, 

"9th January, 1812. 

" Sir, I have the honour to report to you the proceed- 
ings of the detachment of the Light Division ordered to 
attack an advanced work before Ciudad Rodrigo. The 
four companies conducted by Major Gibbs approached it 
so rapidly that the enemy had but little time to annoy 
them by his fire. Captain Cramp ton, of the 95th Regi- 
ment, first formed up his company on the crest of the 
glacis, and was followed by the divisions under the com- 
mand of Captain Merry, of the 52nd, and Captain Travers 
and Lieutenant McNamara, of the 95th, who silenced the 
enemy's fire whilst Captain Duffey, of the 43rd Regiment, 
and Captain Mein, of the 5 2nd, with their companies, and 
Lieutenant Woodgate, of the 52nd, who had charge of 
the ladders, leaped into the ditch and escaladed the work. 
Two officers and 47 rank and file of the enemy were made 
prisoners by the activity of Major Gibbs, who moved 
round to the gate and prevented them from making their 

* Moorsom's Historical Record of the $2nd Regiment, pp. 150153. 


escape. I beg leave to mention that the intrepidity and 
exertions of Captain Mein and Lieutenant Woodgate 
could not be exceeded, both of whom were wounded, the 
latter severely. Lieutenant Bankesley, of the 95th, I am 
sorry to add, has also received a very severe wound. I 
have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient humble 


" Lt-Colonel, 52nd Light Infantry. 
" To M.-General Craufurd, 

" Commanding Light Division." 

Colborne received great praise for the skill with 
which he captured the redoubt of San Francisco. 
Wellington wrote : " I cannot sufficiently applaud the 
conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Colborne and of the 
detachment under his command upon this occasion," 
and George Napier writes : " The colonel formed his 
party and gave his orders so explicitly, and so clearly 
made every officer understand what he was to do, 
that no mistake could possibly be made. The 
consequence was that in twenty minutes from the 
time he moved to the attack the fort was stormed 
and carried. The watchword of * England and St. 
George ' was heard shouted loud and strong and 
re-echoed by the division which was under arms."* 

As Colborne told the tale afterwards : " Lord 
Wellington, Colonel Barnard, of the 95th, and 
General Craufurd were most anxiously awaiting the 
event. When they heard the cheer, Barnard, unable 
to restrain his emotion, threw himself on the ground 
in the vehemence of his delight so that General 
Craufurd, who was at a little distance and did not 
see who it was, exclaimed, 'What's that drunken 

* Early Life of Sir G. N., p. 209. 


man doing ? J Craufurd was a man who seldom 
expressed approval, but on this occasion he said, 
' Colonel Colborne seems to be a steady officer. 1 

"As soon as the fort fell I despatched a soldier 
to Lord Wellington, who had been looking on all 
the time. This soldier ran up to him in great 
excitement and said, * IVe taken the fort, Sir/ 
Wellington replied, ' Oh, you've taken the fort, have 
you? Well, I'm glad to hear it/ and got up and 
rode away. 

"After such great anxiety it was most delightful 
to go and wrap myself in my cloak, and I seldom 
remember having had such a sound and delightful 

The siege of Ciudad Rodrigo was now busily 
prosecuted, and on the igth January, two breaches 
being reported practicable, the assault was made. 
The forlorn hope was led by Lieutenant Gurwood, 
52nd, with 25 volunteers; the storming party which 
followed by Major George Napier, 52nd. 

Colborne himself headed his regiment in the 
assault. The ascent was extremely sharp and con- 
tracted, and when two-thirds of the lesser breach 
had been reached the struggle became so violent in 
the narrowest part that the men paused, and every 
musket in the crowd was snapped under the instinct 
of self-defence, though not one was loaded. Colonel 
Colborne, however, pressed on with his 52nd, and 
though wounded in the shoulder by a musket ball, 
led the men on. Napier, though struck down by 
grape-shot, called to the troops to trust to their 
bayonets. The officers thereupon sprang to the 
front and the ascent was won. 


The assault was successful at the cost of many 
valuable lives, including that of the brilliant leader 
of the Light Division, General Robert Craufurd, 
while among those severely wounded were Colborne 
and George Napier. An officer of the 52nd, writing 
home two days after the assault, expressed the 
feelings which these misfortunes had called forth: 
" We have, as a division, sustained a very heavy loss 
in General Craufurd, who is not expected to recover 
from his wounds ; but, as a regiment, a much more 
severe one, though we heartily trust it is only tem- 
porary, in Colonel Colborne, who, though he has 
only commanded us a few months, has gained the 
hearts of every officer and soldier in the regiment."* 

Colborne was thus mentioned in Lord Welling- 
ton's despatch : " I have already reported my 
sense of the conduct of Major-General Craufurd 
and of Lieutenant-Colonel Colborne and of the 
troops of the Light Division in the storming of 
the redoubt of St. Francisco on the evening of the 
8th instant. The conduct of these troops was 
equally distinguished throughout the siege, and in 
the storm nothing could withstand the gallantry with 
which these brave officers and troops advanced and 
accomplished the difficult operation allotted to them, 
notwithstanding all their leaders had fallen." 

Colborne referred in conversation to the storming 
of Ciudad Rodrigo as follows : 

"When Lord Wellington summoned Ciudad 
Rodrigo he said, ' fai Vhonneur de vous sommer? 
They said afterwards it was useless his having sum- 

* Letter of Captain J. F. Ewart given in the A&rd and $2nd Light 
Infantry Chronicle, 1893, p. 121. 


moned them, because Napoleon's orders forbade 
them to surrender until they had been attacked 
three times. Before the storming the fire was kept 
up till the last ten minutes till after dark. I 
recollect hearing Robert Craufurd's voice squeaking 
out, ' Move on, will you, 95th? or we will get some 
who will/ The Rifles had made a sort of stop. 
Craufurd was wounded soon after and died the next 
morning. I remember he sent to ask after me. 

" Craufurd was a fine fellow, though very stern 
and tyrannical, but after all, that was the way he got 
his division into such fine order. He was the terror 
of all Commissaries ; I really believe he was nearly 
the death of one. He always got provisions how- 
ever ; that was something. A Commissary told me 
that Craufurd once desired him to keep a journal 
after the manner of a log-book, that he might see 
how and where he spent every half-hour of his time ! 
He was the first man who introduced a proper 
manner of marching. ' Sit down in it, Sir, sit down 
in it/ he used to call out if he saw a soldier stepping 
across a puddle. That was the way he got them 
to march so beautifully. Although he was so 
tyrannical, once on his return to the division after 
a period of absence the soldiers cheered him, 
which said a good deal for him. He took some 
church plate once, however. The people said they 
would not give him any provisions ; so he said, 
' Very well, then, I'll take the church plate ' ; which 
he did. 

" I always think of a remark made to Barclay 
(lieutenant-colonel of the 52nd) by Beckwith, who 
commanded another brigade in the Light Division. 


We were near Talavera, and provisions were often 
very scarce. Craufurd, who commanded the Light 
Division, was the most unpopular fellow that ever 
was, but he was very clever, and he always managed 
to get his dinner supplied when no one else could 
get one. One day Craufurd sent Barclay a bottle 
of very good cherry brandy a great luxury in those 
days when water was far more common than brandy. 
So as Barclay was drawing the cork before us all, 
Beckwith said, 'What, Barclay, do you drink any- 
thing from such a fellow as that ? } So Barclay 
filled his glass, and as he was tossing it off, said, 
' Don't I, indeed? Here's damnation to him! ' 

'* There was a great drop into the town after we 
got into the breach. There was one place I thought 
I could have got in at. I wanted very much to have 
tried with the 52nd. I used to examine it every 
morning with my spy-glass. I dare say I should 
have got a proper good Ticking if I had, for I heard 
afterwards there was no way of getting down." 

" Colonel Colborne," writes Harry Smith in his 
Autobiography, "received an awful wound, but he 
never quitted his regiment until the city was perfectly 
ours and his regiment all collected." 

Some idea of Colborne's sufferings from this time 
onwards, and of his bitter disappointment at the 
check to his career caused by his wound may be 
gathered from his own account, as reported by his 
daughters : 

'' The worst wound I ever had I received at 
Ciudad Rodrigo. A bullet from the walls hit my 
right shoulder and passed some way down my arm. 
This was about 20 minutes, I suppose, after the 

i8i2.] COLBORNE'S WOUND. 175 

attack had begun. I was knocked down by the 
wound at the moment, but I was able to go into the 
town. I had another wound in my leg at the same 
time, but the first was so bad that I did not think of 
that. I was taken the next day to a convent, and 
three weeks after I was carried on 20 men's shoulders 
to Coimbra, in Portugal. That journey in the open 
air was perhaps a good thing for me, though it took 
a week and gave me a great deal of pain at the time. 
I always had an appetite and could eat. The sur- 
geon said, ' I think you must do well, you always 
have such an appetite.' A part of the gold wire of 
my epaulette was carried into the wound, and for 
long after, whenever I moved, this wire gave me the 
greatest torture. I could not lie on my side on the 
left shoulder, as it hurt the other to be raised, and it 
was dreadful pain to lie on my back, the bones in my 
back being quite sore. They were obliged to raise 
my bed off the ground on one side to give me ease. 

:< The day after the wound a surgeon came and 
cut the wound across and across, probing for the ball. 
When the ball was taken out, 1 5 months after, it did 
not hurt me so much. I was so accustomed to be 
probed in every direction, it did not seem much. In 
spite of the probing they could not find the ball, and 
then inflammation came on and the arm swelled, and 
they could do nothing. 

" Lord Wellington's surgeon came down to see 
me and told me that I should have a stiff arm. A 
great many of them wanted to take it out of its 
socket. One saved me. He said, ' He has been 
knocked about enough. Let him take his chance.' 

" I recollect a physician coming to see me at 

176 AT COIMBRA. [Cn. XII. 

Coimbra and saying, ' Now I will tell you one thing. 
These surgeons know nothing of medicine ; they 
are only surgeons, so you must not mind them. 
They as nearly as possible killed me. I had a 
wound, and fortunately recovered from delirium in 
time to see all the stuff they were going to give me 
to drink. So I threw it all away or they would have 
killed me.' (He told me all this with the door shut.) 
' But if you don't mind them, but attend to what / 
tell you, you will recover. First take a raw egg 
every day about one o'clock, beat up with one tea- 
spoonful of brandy, and nine, mind, nine, of water ; 
that's to strengthen you and give you an appetite. 
Then never take anything acid. These surgeons 
would give you acids, but vinegar has some relation 
to the bone and would hurt it.' He gave me many 
more directions and the reasons for them. 

" I stayed several months in Coimbra,* and by the 
end of that time all the bits of wire were taken out. 
In June I went home.f [He arrived in England 

* During these months Badajos was stormed (6th April). Of this 
assault Colborne told the following story : " Sir Andrew Barnard, who 
commanded the division, left particular orders with Colonel Elder, 
commanding a regiment of Portuguese Ca9adores, to remain in reserve, 
as, knowing his impetuous character and eagerness to be foremost, 
he feared he might advance too soon. He himself advanced with the 
rest of his division to the trenches. Here the greatest confusion 
prevailed, owing to their being too much crowded, but very soon 
Colonel Elder, hearing the firing, came dashing into the trenches, 
adding still more to the confusion. When Barnard saw him he 
exclaimed loudly against his impetuosity. ' Ah, Colonel Elder, 
Colonel Elder, for your own glory you would throw away the whole 
British army.' " 

} From Coimbra to Lisbon (where he was obliged to remain some 
time longer before he was fit to sail) he travelled with his fellow- 
sufferer George Napier, who thus writes : " About three weeks from the 
loss of my arm I commenced my journey towards Lisbon. In a few 
days I arrived at Coimbra, where I found my friend Colonel Colborne 
in bed, suffering dreadful pain from his wound. Here we stayed some 

i8ia.] COLBORNE'S WOUND. 177 

June 4th.] I was obliged to go ; I was fit for 
nothing. I had nowhere to stay and I wanted change 
of air. I was so nervous that I used to be obliged 
to say, ' Give me a glass of wine, I am going to cry/ 
I could not help crying continually. Once I felt it 
coming on as I was being carried across a stream 
in my journey and a good many soldiers were looking 
on, but I was so ashamed of their seeing me and 
thinking I was crying because I was hurt, that that, I 
think, prevented me. How delightful it is to hear 
a voice that you know! I recollect so well when I 
was lying sick and in such pain hearing the voice of 
a very old friend of mine Pierrepont ' Well, Col- 
borne, so here you are, you poor old fellow ! ' He 
was killed soon after." 

The following letters were received by Colonel 
Colborne's family after his wound. Those from 
Colborne himself were now written with the left 

" Coimbra. 

" My dear Delia, I am sorry to tell you that my wound 
has turned out badly the bone is fractured very high up, 
and in this state I was moved 30 leagues in a waggon on 
a very bad road. 

" Remember me to Duke and Delia and little Jack 
Believe me, your affectionate brother, 

(Signed) " J. COLBORNE. 

" Mrs. Duke Yonge, 

"Antony, Plymouth Dock, 
" Devon, England" 

time till Colborne was able to travel by easy stages to Lisbon. When 
we arrived there he was so ill and weak that it was impossible he could 
undergo the fatigue of the voyage." Napier therefore embarked alone. 
Early Military Life of Sir G. T. Napier, pp. 230, 331. 

178 AT COIMBRA. [Cn. XII. 

" Coimbra, 

"23rd February, 1812. 

" My dear Duke, I arrived at this place on the 2Oth 
inst My wound has turned out very badly. One ball 
has not yet been extracted, nor have I had one hour's 
natural sleep since the night I was wounded. I do not 
write this as a complaint, as soldiers must be prepared for 
pain, but as an excuse for not writing. I have now to look 
forward to a stiff joint. . . . Yours sincerely, 

" Rev. Duke Yonge, 

" Antony, Plymouth Dock, 
" Devon, England. 11 

" Cuimbra, 

"20th March, 1812. 

" Sir, I have thain the liberty of wrighting thouse few 
lines to you to informe you that my marster the Colonl 
was wounded one the 1 9 of Jany, at the sege of Rotherrick, 
and I should a wrote to a let you noed before, but I 
did expect he ould abeen in England before this time, but 
owing to take such a long march before he was able, 
caused him to remain a Cuimbra, but I am happy to say 
he is duing well at present : his wound was very danger- 
ish, and the ball cannot be found, but I hope you will not 
make yourself any ways uneasey about it, for he is duing 
very well : when the Colonl was wounded I should a 
wrote the next day, but Lord Willinton sent Lord March 
to the Colonl, and the Colonl wrote a few lines in is 
bed, and I was so trobled that I did not no what to doe. 
I am happy to informe you the Colonl has a good apptite, 
and walks about : and I hope be the blessing of God, he 
will be. soon able to oundertake is jouney to England: 
and likewise I have the happness to informe you, that 
Lord Wellington has sent the best surgon to him can be 

i8i2.] RETURN TO ENGLAND. 179 

found in the country, to atuend him and no outher : the 
surgon expect the ball will be out every day, and then 
he will be able for his duty in six mounths again : the 
genneral docter will riot alow him to be moved one any a 
count, tell such time he is able for any thing and the 
bone is perfectley sound ; the bone has been nitten three 

" Sir, I hope you will give my best respects to all the 
famuley, and I hope the have all well. I wrote to John 
Blackworth the second day after I landed in Lisborne, 
but I reseved no answer : my best respects to all my 
felow servants, and very happy to informe how well my 
marster is douing. I should be very happy to hear from 
you all. Sir, I remains your most humble, 


" The Reverend Duke of Young, 
" Anthony, near Tor Point, 

" Devonshire, England." 

The writer of the above letter was no doubt the 
Calabrian servant Antonio, of whom we have heard 
before. He seems to have been despatched to 
Lisbon just before his master's disablement. 

" Coimbra, 

"23rd March. 

" My dear Alethea, Your brother is still in bed, after 
being wounded more than six weeks. I was moved too 
soon, and now it is found that the bone is fractured close 
to the joint. When I shall be fit to join, God knows. 
Believe me, your most affectionate brother, 


Though Colborne was able to return to England 
in June, for ten months after receiving his wound 
he lay on his back, and the ball was not extracted 

180 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XII. 

until April, 1813. The following letter gives this 

happy news : 

" Antony, 

"25th April. 

" My dear Fanny, You may now congratulate me on 
having lost a companion with whose company I have long 
been oppressed. 

" I went to the Military Hospital at Plymouth on Satur- 
day, determined to submit to any operation that might 
facilitate the extracting the ball. After much pain and 
many trials the black gentleman was pulled out by the 
forceps without an incision. I look forward to my re- 
covery now with delight, and hope I may bid adieu to 
pain and mutilation. . . . Your most affectionate, 

" Miss Bargus, 

"118, Sloane-street, Chelsea, 
" London." 

Sir Harry Smith writes* : " The pain Colborne 
suffered in the extraction of the ball was more even 
than his iron heart could bear. He used to lay his 
watch on the table and allow the surgeons five 
minutes' exertions at a time, and they were three or 
four days before they wrenched the bone from its 
ossified bed. ... Of course the shoulder- joint 
was anchylosed, but he had free use of the arm below 
the elbow." 

Colborne said in conversation : "It was my right 
shoulder. Do you not see the difference? I can 
move this arm quite round, and I can only do so 
with this one. The head of the bone was carried 
away; you see this shoulder is round and perfect 
and this one is falling away. 

* I, P- 59- 

, Jf^ ffoM 



" I was away from the army a year and six months, 
which was a great mortification to me. I dare say 
I should have got some wound somewhere else, but 
it was a terrible spoke in my wheel." 

That he had not been quite forgotten, however, 
during his absence from the seat of war is shown by 
the following communication from Lord Wellington, 
received at this time : 

" Freneda, 

" 1 5th March, 1813. 

" H.R.H. the Prince Regent of Portugal has been pleased 
to appoint you a Knight of the Order of the Tower and 
the Sword." 

But the gratification which such news brought was 
quickly drowned in a deeper joy. 

Since October, 1811, Colborne had been engaged 
to Miss Elizabeth Yonge, of Puslinch. On the 25th 
March, 1813, his half-sister, Alethea Bargus, had 
been married in London by her guardian, Dr. God- 
dard, to Miss Yonge's brother, the Reverend John 
Yonge; and now that he had recovered from his 
wound Colborne saw the fulfilment of his own hopes. 
From his wife's diary we learn that on 2nd June he 
joined her at Flaxley, near Gloucester, the residence 
of her connexion, Mr. Crawley, and on the 2 1 st the 
day of the battle of Vittoria they were there 
married. They stayed in London till 6th July, 
went to Puslinch on the 8th, and to Antony on the 
loth, and parted on the I2th. " Colonel Colborne," 
writes his wife on that day, " sailed in the ' Sparrow- 
hawk ' for St. Andero. I returned to Puslinch." 

( 182 ) 



"!N July, 1813, I went out again. I embarked 
quietly at Plymouth in a small corvette by per- 
mission of the admiral, and we ran up the Bay of 
Biscay in three days. The siege of San Sebastian 
was going on, but I knew nothing of it, and did not 
know where the army was. I thought I should 
have to go to Corunna, and from there make a long 
inland journey. However, as we got near the coast 
of Spain the captain thought he perceived guns 
and firing around San Sebastian, and when we got 
glasses to assist our sight he proved to have been 
correct. So I was landed close at hand and walked 
a mile and a half to General Graham's tent. Then 
I called on Lord Wellington. He said he was glad 
to see me again, but I looked rather thin and pale. 
Then I went to dine with Sir George Murray, who 
said, ' Well, you had better join your regiment 
directly ; you have been given the position on that 
hill to protect the army. Soult has been collecting 
his army, and he could attack us from there/ I went 
up to a very high point to see the first attack on San 
Sebastian [25th July]. So in about four days from 
leaving England I found myself in active service 


At the moment when Colborne resumed the 
command of the 52nd [2Oth July] the Light 
Division was commanded by Baron Alten, and its 
2nd Brigade, consisting of the 52nd, the 2nd Bat- 
talion 95th Rifles and a regiment of Portuguese 
Cagadores, by Major-General Skerrett. The regi- 
ment was posted at Lesaca. The assault made 
on San Sebastian on 25th July having been 
unsuccessful, the siege was still prosecuted, as was 
that of Pamplona simultaneously. 

Meanwhile Soult, at the head of the French army, 
made an effort to penetrate the pass of Roncesvalles, 
relieve Pamplona, and if he succeeded, San 
Sebastian also. Wellington was obliged to send a 
great part of his army to cover Pamplona and tem- 
porarily suspend the siege of San Sebastian, and 
the Light Division was kept moving between the 
two places. When Soult had been repulsed at the 
battles of the Pyrenees, 27th and 28th July, the 
Light Division was pushed forward. Soult fell 
back behind the line of the Bidassoa and the Light 
Division countermarched, and arriving on ist August 
at Sumbilla, reoccupied Vera on the 2nd. The 
siege of San Sebastian was now vigorously 

" One morning during the siege of San Sebastian," 
said Colborne, " Colonel Upton, of the Guards, was 
waiting with some friends in his tent for breakfast, 
when his servant rushed in, exclaiming, ' The French 
are marching on the Guards ! ' ' And a pretty 
good thrashing they'll get ; bring breakfast/ Upton 
replied, and coolly ate his breakfast before he would 
go to his regiment." 


On the Qth San Sebastian surrendered, and Pam- 
plona followed on 2Qth October. 

In the early morning of ist September the French, 
owing to Skerrett's want of precaution, crossed the 
bridge of Vera in spite of the valiant resistance 
offered by Captain Cadoux, 95th, and his company 
of Riflemen. Colborne said, " I remember one 
night I was sitting on a camp stool with another 
officer, Mein, who was asleep I was nodding 
myself when we heard the French huzza. It was 
about three o'clock in the morning, and they had 
just succeeded, to my great mortification, in crossing 
the. bridge owing to the Rifles being surprised. 
Mein started up with a leap of several yards, drew 
his sword, and rushed off half awake, though we 
had heard nothing but the huzza. We were obliged 
to send three or four men after him, and it was five 
minutes before he came back." 

Major-General Skerrett having had to go home 
on sick leave, Colonel Colborne now came into 
temporary command of the 2nd Brigade of the Light 
Division, to whose officers the substitution of 
Colborne for Skerrett gave the greatest satisfaction. 

Sir Harry Smith writes in his Autobiography:* 

" Our brigade was now commanded by Colonel 
Colborne, in whom we all had the most implicit con- 
fidence. I looked up to him as a man whose regard 
I hoped to deserve, and by whose knowledge and 
experience I desired to profit, t He had more know- 

* I., P. 130- 

f* In a letter written from the Cape on 2nd March, 1832, Harry 
Smith called him " the master in the art of outposts, under whom I 
learned more in six months than in all the rest of my shooting put 


ledge of ground, better understood the posting of 
picquets, consequently required fewer men on duty 
(he always strengthened every post by throwing 
obstacles trees, stones, carts, &c. on the road, to 
prevent a rush at night), knew better what the 
enemy were going to do, and more quickly antici- 
pated his design than any officer ; with that coolness 
and animation under fire, no matter how hot, which 
marks a good huntsman when he finds his fox in his 
best country." 

Harry Smith continues : " The French were now 
erecting works upon a position by nature strong as 
one could well devise for the purpose of defending 
the Pass of Vera, and every day Colonel Colborne 
and I took rides to look at them, with the pleasant 
reflexion that, the stronger the works were, the 
greater the difficulty we should have in turning them 
out an achievement we well knew in store for us." 

The attack on the fortified position of Vera took 
place on 7th October. On the evening before Col- 
borne had performed a very adventurous feat in 
order to examine the dispositions of the French. It 
was necessary to send a letter to the French posts, 
and he offered to carry it himself. ' The sentry at 
the first post challenged me, but I disregarded this 
and rode some way down the lines, holding out with 
the letter my handkerchief as a flag of truce, and I 
had time to look round well and ascertain all I 
wanted before a French officer appeared. Having 
delivered my message, as you may imagine, I set 
spurs to my horse and soon reached our lines, where 
all the 52nd officers were eagerly awaiting the result 
of my adventure. Before I quitted the French lines 


I heard the officer upbraiding the sentry for his 
stupidity in allowing an English officer to pass." 

Colborne gives the following account of the great 
attack on Vera : 

" At Vera there were two fortresses on an 
immensely steep hill, one above the other. Below 
the lower one the hill divided into three tongues. I 
arranged that the Rifles and Cagadores should go 
first up the hills on the right and left as skirmishers, 
and the 52nd, which was to attack, up the hill in 
the centre. I managed the attack in this manner. 
I did not allow the picquets to be relieved in the 
usual manner at daybreak, but ordered them to 
march on and the columns to support them, so that 
they were actually in the town of Vera before the 
French had any suspicion that an attack was 

" The Rifles being the first to attack the fort, the 
French mistook them for Portuguese Cagadores, 
and rushing out of the redoubt drove them 
back, so they all came tumbling on the 52nd. 
The French were excessively astonished when 
they saw the red-coats behind the Rifles. The 
adjutant of the 52nd was surprised to find 
we were so near the fort. ' Why, Sir, we are 
close to the fort/ * To be sure we are/ I said, 
'and now we must charge/ I then led the 52nd 
on to a most successful charge, to the admira- 
tion of Lord Wellington and others who were 
watching from another hill. At this moment Sir 
James Kempt, who was leading the ist Brigade of 
the Light Division to a simultaneous attack on the 
right of the town of Vera, a mile or two off, sent to 

1813.] HEIGHTS OF VERA. 187 

General Alten to know if the 52nd could not render 
him some assistance. ' Colonel Colborne give him 
some assistance ! ' he said. ' If he could see the hill 
Colborne's Brigade is on, he'd see that Colborne has 
quite enough to do himself/ The French, thrown 
into confusion by this tremendous charge, retreated 

to the next fort. Colonel now came up with 

the reserve and said rather sneeringly, * They're all 
talking of your charge, as they call it/ * Why, you 
can't have seen it/ said I. ' Call it a charge, 
indeed. It was a most wonderful charge/ 

" By a second charge as fine as the first the French 
were driven from the second fort in great confusion. 

"After this, leaving my column, I rode on alone 
with the present Sir Harry Smith into France. I 
was separated from the column a great distance, 
when to my dismay I saw a body of 400 French 
passing along a ravine below me. The only way 
was to put a good face on the matter. So I went 
up to them, desiring them to surrender. The 
officer, thinking, of course, the column was 
behind me, surrendered his sword, saying 
theatrically, ' ]e vous rends ceite epee qui a 
bien fait son devoir!' The 400 followed his 
example. In inward trepidation I despatched 
Harry Smith to bring up the column as quick as 
possible while I kept the French officer in play, 
and it fortunately arrived before the French had 
discovered their error. I desired my servant 
MacCurrie* to take the officers' swords to the 

* According to Sir Harry Smith's account, corroborated by 
Moorsom, p. 207, the following story should be told of Lieutenant 
Cargill, 52nd. 


camp. On his way he met Lord Wellington, 
* Where did you get all those swords from ? ' said 
he to MacCurrie. * Colonel Colborne has just taken 
them from 400 prisoners he made as we were going 
into France.' * And how do you know you were so- 
near France ? ' * Because I saw all the men were 
coming back with pigs they had caught/ he answered, 
not considering the scrape he would have got me in 
had it been true, for allowing my men to plunder.* 
However, it was quite false; not one of the men 
had even seen a pig. 

" In the meantime, Sir Lowry Cole, who was 
behind with his division in reserve, sent to ask how 
much further I intended to go, ' for I don't intend 
to go any further.' ' Oh, I have gone quite far 
enough,' said I. 

:c That evening I overheard one of the 52nd 
soldiers propose a toast, * The colonel's health, and 
d the man who gets a shot into him.' ' 

Sir Harry Smith tells in greater detail the 
story of Colborne's capture of the 400 French in 
the ravine, and concludes, " I never witnessed such 
presence of mind as Colborne evinced on this 

He also tells of a kind effort made by Colborne 
to procure him his majority after the action, and the 
mortification Colborne felt when his request was 

* Colborne used to tell another story which turns on Wellington's 
prohibition of plundering. " I remember once in Spain, just after an 
order against plundering had been given out, Lord Wellington met a 
soldier with a quantity of honey which he had just taken ; so he called 
out * Hollo, where did you get that, Sir ? ' The fellow, not knowing at 
all who he was, answered * Oh, just over there ; there are plenty more 
hives,' thinking he wanted to get some himself." 

f Autobiography of Sir H. Smith, I., pp. 134 136. 

1813.3 HEIGHTS OF VERA. 189 

first granted and then found impracticable, con- 
sidering the claims of senior officers. 

Colborne J s conduct in connexion with the capture 
of the heights of Vera was thus mentioned by Lord 
^Wellington : 

" Colonel Colborne, of the 52nd Regiment, who 
commanded Major-General Skerrett's Brigade in 
the absence of the major-general on account of his 
health, attacked the enemy's right in a camp which 
they had strongly entrenched. The 52nd Regiment, 
under the command of Major Mayne [Mein], 
charged in a most gallant style and carried the 
entrenchment with the bayonet. The ist and 3rd 
Cagadores and the 2nd Battalion 95th Regiment, 
as well as the 52nd Regiment, distinguished them- 
selves in this attack. Major-General Kempt' s Bri- 
gade attacked by the Puerto, where the opposition 
was not so severe; and Major-General Charles 
Alten has reported his sense of the judgment dis- 
played, both by the major-general and by Colonel 
Colborne, in these attacks."* 

The Light Division in a few days was pushed 
forward to a position facing the hill called La Petite 
Rhune. The enemy's position extended from St. 
Jean de Luz on his right to Nivelle on his left, his 
centre La Petite Rhune and the heights beyond it. 
Sir Harry Smith writes : " The enemy, not con- 
sidering this ground strong enough, turned to it with 
a vigour I have rarely witnessed to fortify it by every 
means art could devise. Every day before the posi- 
tion was attacked, Colonel Colborne and I went 
to look at their progress. Lord Wellington himself 

* Despatches, XL, p. 177. 

190 n v/7/ TIIK DIVISION. [CH. xin. 

WWlld come to our outpost and continu* ualking 
thc a loiit^- tune. One day h I unusually 

I ! turns to ( 'olborne, I h< N h-llows think 
ili'-in ..-K. , invulnerable, hut I will beat them cut, 
aii.l with great ease/ 1 hat we shall beat them,' 
says Colborne, 'when your lordship attacks, 1 have 

doubt, but for the ease ' * Ah, Colborn* , 

uiili \our local knowledge only, you are pericctly 

I 1 appears difficult, but the enemy have 
men toman the works and lines they oe. npjrJ (Lord 
Wellington then composed and dictated to Sir 
George Murray the plan of attack lor the whole 
army.) ' Now, Alten, if during the night previous to 
the attack the Light Division could be formed on 
this very ground so as to rush at La Petite Rhune 
just as day dawned, it would be of vast importance 
and save great loss, and by thus precipitating your 
selves on the right of the works of La Petite Rhune 
you would certainly carry them. 1 This Petite Rhim- 
was well occupied both by men and works, and a 
tough affair was in prospect. General Alten s 

4 1 "dink" I can, my lord/ Kempt says, 'My 
brigade has a road. There can be no difficulty, my 
lord.' Colborne says, ' For me there is no road, 
but Smith and I both know every bush and every 
stone. We have studied what we have daily 
expected, and m the darkest night we can lead the 
brigade to this very spot. Depend on me, my loid,' 

( 'olhoi 

" As we started for our position before the gn 
the important day [ Hattlc of Nivelle, loth Nov 
her], the night was very dark. We had no road 
and positively nothing to guide us but knowing the 

,8,3.] A NIGHT MARCH. 101 

bushes and stones over a mountain ridge. ( 'ol 
stayed near the brigade ;md :,< -ni ju<- on from :.poi 
to spot whieh we both knew, when he would come 
up to me and satisfy himself that 1 was right. I 
then went on again. In this manner we crept up 
to our advanced picquel within a hundred and filly 
yards of the enemy. We afterwards found Kempt's 
brigade close to our right, equally successfully 

Colborne said himself, " By taking my brigade i he- 
way I did I saved them an immense five hour,' 
march. Sir J. Kempt's brigade, who had toiled 
round by the regular road, were thoroughly fatigued 
and worn out. However, I had a desperate Jn^hi 
on the road. An aide-de-camp came suddenly 
galloping up in the darkness, 'Captain So-an* 
is leading his company right into the French line/ 
It was the case. This officer had unfortunately 
mistaken the way the troops in front were marching, 
and in a few minutes more would have gone straight 
into the French position. It had been a very 
hazardous proceeding on my part, and its success 
depended on the utmost caution my short way lay 
so near the French camp. I galloped immediately 
in great alarm to the straying captain and succeeded 
in putting him on the right tnv 

Harry Smith tells of another alarming incident 
which occurred as they were resting before the 
attack. "About an hour before daylight, by some 
accident, a soldier's musket went off. It was a most 
anxious moment, for we thought the enemy had 
discoverer I us, and if they had not, such shots might 
be repeated, and they would ; but most fortunately 


all was still. I never saw Colborne so excited as 
he was for the moment." 

At daybreak the signal was given to attack. 
Colborne had arranged that in his column the 
attack should be made by the 52nd, supported by 
the Cagadores. Colonel Snodgrass, who com- 
manded the latter regiment, came to him and said, 
" I wish, Sir, you would alter your dispositions, for 
if the 52nd were to give way, I think the Cac, adores 
will give way, too ; but if they lead the attack, with 
the 52nd behind, it will be of no consequence if they 
give way or not." " Oh, no," said Colborne, " it is 
too late to alter my arrangements, and make your- 
self quite easy; the 52nd will not give way." And 
so it proved. 

At the appointed moment the 52nd "hastened 
straight down the slope in its front, but as soon as 
it had crossed the rocky watercourse at the bottom 
brought up its right shoulders and pushed rapidly 
on in a line nearly parallel to the watercourse on its 
left and to the French works about 500 yards off on 
its right. The enemy either, in the darkness of the 
mountain shadows, did not see, or perceiving, had 
not the presence of mind to check this bold flank 
movement of Colonel Colborne's own devising. 
The 52nd gained the line of the extreme flank of 
the French works, brought up its left shoulders, 
scrambled up the rocky slope and stood in rear of the 
enemy's right on the plateau of the Petite Rhune.* 

* Sir Harry Smith writes : " As soon as the 2nd Battalion 95th, 
succeeded in putting back the enemy, Colonel Colborne, at the head 
of the 52nd, with an eye like a hawk's, saw the moment had arrived, 
and he gave the word ' Forward.' One rush put us in possession of 
the redoubt ... on the edge of the ravine." Autobiography, I., 
PP- 132, 133. 

x8i3.] BATTLE OF NIVELLE. 193 

" At this point a scene of extraordinary magnificence 
burst upon the view. The sun was just springing 
in full glory above the horizon and lighting up the 
boundless plains of the south of France. The 
Pyrenees stretched away to the eastward in an 
abrupt series of enormous sloping walls, and the long 
lines of white wreathing smoke near their bases 
showed the simultaneous advance of the whole 
allied army. In the foreground to the right the ist 
Brigade of the Light Division had done its work, 
and was rapidly pouring over the entrenchments. 
The French defenders of the last of their Pyrenean 
summits were rushing into the huge round punch- 
bowl which is bounded by the eastern and western 
spurs of La Petite Rhune. After some attempt at 
pursuit the 52nd collected on the right rear of the 
now abandoned French redoubts. The line of the 
French main position, commencing upon a com- 
paratively low range of hills, was in front of the 
regiment, with an intervening rocky watercourse, 
which it would seem was deemed impassable by our 
enemies. The 52nd moved by threes to the small 
open ravine and wood in their front under a smart 
fire of artillery from the ridge which was next to be 
assailed. In front of this wood the watercourse 
was crossed by a small and narrow stone bridge, on 
the opposite side of which was a road running close 
and parallel to the watercourse with a sheltered bank 
towards the enemy. The officers and men of the 
52nd crept by twos and threes to the edge of the 
wood and then dashing over a hundred yards of 
open ground passed the bridge and formed behind 
the bank, which was not more than eighty yards 



from the enemy's entrenchments. The signal was 
then given, the rough line sprang up the bank, and 
the enemy gave way with so much precipitation as 
to abandon, almost without firing a shot, the works 
on the right of the advanced ridge, no doubt under 
the apprehension that their retreat would be cut off 
if they remained to defend them."* 

So far, two great successes had been obtained with 
little loss. But the 52nd had worse to undergo. 
On the most prominent summit of the ridge, 800 
yards further (the enemy's main position), a star- 
redoubt still held out unsupported. 

Major Charles Beckwith, Acting-Quartermaster- 
General of the Light Division, now rode up to 
Colonel Colborne with what was taken by him to 
be an order to attack this last fort with the 52nd. 
It was afterwards stated that no such order had been 
issued. Colonel Colborne accepted the task as 
practicable, believing that, as the French seemed to 
be retiring, the holders of the redoubt would not 
defend it. On the contrary, they stood firm. The 
52nd suffered so fearfully as they moved up the slopes 
to attack, that they recoiled and took shelter in a little 
ravine. After letting them take breath for a while 
Colonel Colborne could not refrain from a second 
attempt. It was once more a failure. But again 
Colborne's cool audacity saved the situation. 
" There was I," said Colborne, " on the top of this 
hill heading the 52nd, and exposed to a most 
murderous fire, the balls and shells falling like hail- 
stones. I saw Harry Smith fall with his horse on 

* Colonel Gawler, quoted by Moorsom, pp. 211, &c. 


him, and thought he was killed. My aide-de-camp, 
Captain Fane, dismounted and entreated me to do 
the same. ' Pray get off, Sir, pray get off.' 

" I was never in such peril in my whole life, but 
thinking the boldest plan was the best, I waved my 
handkerchief and called out loudly to the French 
leader on the other side of the wall, * What nonsense 
this is, attempting to hold out! You see you are 
surrounded on every side. There are the Spaniards 
on the left ; you had better surrender at once ! ' 
[Frenchmen had a horror of falling into the hands 
of Spaniards.] The French officer thought I was 
addressing his men and inciting them to surrender, 
which would have been very improper, and I ought 
not to have spoken so loud, but the danger was 
imminent and the moment critical that the French 
should surrender was our only chance of escape. 
The French officer exclaimed, * Vous farlez a mes 
hommeSy je prevois un desastrej meaning that I 
and my regiment would be destroyed. However, I 
replied, ' That is all nonsense ; you must surrender/ 
On this, the Frenchman appeared to hesitate, and 
finally asked me into the fort to arrange matters. 
There, with his pen in his hand, he pretended to be 
thinking of terms, but on my again repeating that 
it was nonsense, he surrendered at once with his 
regiment, the 88th." 

The 52nd stood formed in a double line and gave 
the brave Frenchmen the satisfaction of marching 
out with all the honours of war. 

" Next morning," said Colborne, " the returns 
from the 52nd were 200 killed and wounded. * How 
is that possible ? } I said to the adjutant. ' I see here 

H 2 


before me the very men returned as wounded/ 
However, on examination the numbers turned out 
to be correct, but a hundred men who had only flesh 
wounds had refused to go to the rear, and had gone 
to their duty as usual." 

( 197 ) 




THE day after the battle of Nivelle the 2nd Brigade 
encamped near Arbonne, and on the igth November 
went into quarters in the village. On the 24th it 
was moved to the chateau of Casteleur, near 
Arcangues. On the loth December the enemy 
drove back the picquets, occupied the range of hills 
at Casteleur, and made a most desperate attack on 
the Light Division's post at Arcangues. 

' This was nearer a surprise," writes Sir Harry 
Smith, " than anything we had ever experienced." 

But Colborne, as usual, was prepared. 

He gave this account of the manner in which he 
perceived the coming attack : " As I was standing, 
in the grey of the morning, by a picquet about a 
mile or more from the main body, looking at the 
opposite hill, I thought I saw flashes of fire-arms, 
and said to Harry Smith, * Those must be some men 
discharging their pieces/ Then, to my surprise, I 
thought I perceived a large body of French 
advancing at some distance. We looked through 


our glasses and soon discovered it was the whole 
French army in movement. While I was con- 
sidering what was to be done, Smith impatiently 
exclaimed, f Come, something must be done ; what 
are you going to do ? ' for he was always in a state 
of uneasiness about any sudden attack, on account 
of his wife, who followed the army. I merely replied, 
' I must think a little, first, 5 and in a few minutes 
gave directions about bringing up the 52nd, &c. As 
I sat on horseback by the side of a house, reflecting 
on what dispositions to make, I had my cap shot 
through. The officers standing near remarked, 
' What a narrow escape ! ' The French continued 
these attacks for two days. At last, as I was 
patrolling in great anxiety, I thought I heard sounds 
indicating a retreat. I saw a shadow thrown back- 
wards on a wall near a French watch-fire, and I 
heard a French officer say, ' Retirez-vous a gauche 
de rennemi.' And after watching carefully for some 
time, I found, to my delight, that they were really 

On the 1 3th December Soult was repulsed by 
General Hill at St. Pierre, near Bayonne. With 
regard to this engagement Colborne remarked : 
" Wellington committed a great error. Hill's 
Division was quite isolated. Soult passed the 
bridge and attacked it with his whole army, yet 
such was the goodness of the British troops, he was 
repulsed. Soult said himself afterwards, ' Well, if 
one division of your troops can stand against 
seventy or eighty thousand of ours, there's no more 
to be said ; but it is an error/ Another French 
officer said to me, * Were not those troops of ours 

1813-4.] THE EVE OF ORTHES. 199 

fine men? Yet your little hump-backed soldiers 
repulsed them.' Soult's were extremely fine men. 

" Lord Wellington had ridden up towards the end 
of the action, and saw it out. Hill, of course, wrote 
a despatch giving an account of the affair, and sent 
it to Lord Wellington, expecting to see it published 
in the Gazette. Much to his disappointment, how- 
ever, Wellington only used it to compile his own 
despatch, in which he made very little mention of 
Hill's affair." 

When the enemy retired towards Bayonne the 
2nd Brigade Light Division returned to its quar- 
ters about Casteleur. Here it stayed till the 4th 
January, 1814. From the 8th January to the i6th 
February it was in cantonments at Sala. On 25th 
February, after some days' marching, the Light 
Division arrived close to Orthes. 

"On the day before the battle of Orthes," 
Colborne said, " I' remember seeing Lord Wellington 
in a little white cloak, sitting on a stone, writing. 
Charles Beckwith, who was standing near me, said, 
' Do you see that old White Friar sitting there ? I 
wonder how many men he is marking off to be sent 
into the next world.' A part of the army was on one 
side of the river and a part on the other, and I 
suppose he was writing his orders to them. 

' The night before the battle Napier and I took 
up our quarters in a mill, a nice clean place. The 
miller's wife was a great talker, and made almost as 
much noise as her mill, and both she and her hus- 
band were delighted to have us there, thinking we 
should protect their house." 

At daybreak on the 2;th the Light Division, 


weakened by the temporary absence of the 43rd and 
ist Battalion 95th, crossed the Gave de Pau. The 
ist Battalion 95th had been transferred a month 
before to the 2nd Brigade and the 2nd Battalion to 
the ist Brigade, and the 2nd Brigade (52nd Regi- 
ment, ist Battalion 95th and Cagadores) was now 
commanded by Colonel Barnard. Colborne, who 
had hitherto commanded it during the illness of 
Major- General Skerrett, now returned to the 
command of the 52nd. 

"We saw the enemy," writes Sir Harry Smith,* 
" very strongly posted both as regards the elevation 
and the nature of the ground, which was intersected 
by large banks and ditches, while the fences of the 
fields were most admirably calculated for vigorous 
defence." The 3rd, 4th and 7th Divisions having 
crossed the river on the preceding day, the Light 
Division now formed up on the left of the army. 
The 4th and 7th Divisions attacked the enemy's 
right, the 3rd and 6th attacked the centre of the 
position, and the 2nd Brigade Light Division was 
in reserve on a spur of the main ridge of St. Boes. 
The ist Brigade Light Division were some miles in 
the rear near St. Jean de Luz. 

The attack on the right did not succeed, and 
Cole's leading regiments, after partially gaining the 
village of St. Boes, were again driven back. Neither 
was the centre making any progress, and a portion 
of the 3rd Division had been repulsed down the hill 
when the 2nd Brigade Light Division, which up to 
this point had been little engaged, was ordered to 
attack the left flank of the heights occupied by 

* I., P. 163. 


the enemy's right. The 95th remained on the knoll 
in support, the Portuguese Cagadores had been 
thrown out to the left and had been driven back, 
when the 52nd Regiment, under Colborne, rode 
along in column of threes to the front. 

But here Colborne must tell his own tale. 

" Sir James Kempt and I were standing together, 
he near his brigade, I with the 52nd. General Alten 
came riding over and said, * Now, Colborne, you go 
on and attack/ much to the mortification of Sir 
James, who had not been employed once during the 
day. He exclaimed, * And I, General? am not I to 
go on ? ' and then aside to me, ' Confound the old 
fellow ! God forgive me ! ' 

" Lord Wellington was standing dismounted on a 
knoll with Lord Fitzroy Somerset. When I rode 
below him he called out, ' Hollo, Colborne, ride on 
and see if artillery can pass there.' (The marsh was 
generally impassable.) 

" I rode on, and galloped back as fast as I could 
and said, ' Yes, anything can pass.' ' Well then, 
make haste, take your regiment on and deploy into 
the plain. I leave it to your disposition.' 

" So we continued to move in column from the 
Roman Camp up the road to St. Does till we arrived 
at the ridge, where we met Sir Lowry Cole coming 
back with his division and anxiously looking out for 
support. He was much excited and said, 'Well, 
Colborne, what's to be done? Here we are, all 
coming back as fast as we can.' I was rather pro- 
voked, and said, * Have patience, and we shall see 
what's to be done.' At that moment a cannon-ball 
fell close to me, and my poor little nag started and 


reared at a fine rate, being hit all over the body by 
the stones which had been thrown up. 

:e Then I saw Picton's Division scattering to the 
left. The adjutant came up and asked, ' What are 
we to do ? ' I said, ' Deploy into the low ground as 
fast as you can.' They did it beautifully. When 
all the rest were in confusion the 52nd marched 
down as evenly and regularly as if on parade, 
accelerating their march as they approached the hill 
occupied by the right of General Foy's Division. 
The French were keeping up a heavy fire, but 
fortunately the balls all passed over our heads. I 
rode to the top of the hill and waved my cap, and 
though the men were over their knees in the marsh 
they trotted up in the finest order. As soon as they 
got to the top of the hill I ordered them to halt and 
open fire. I remember my major, George Napier, 
coming up to me about ten minutes later with a face 
of great concern, and saying, ' Poor March (the 
present Duke of Richmond) is wounded ! ' ' Well/ 
I said, ' I can't help it. Have him carried off.' We 
were soon supported by the other divisions and 
the French were dispersed. Lord Fitzroy Somerset, 
who came with an order from Lord Wellington 
that we should not on any account advance 
further, and remain in line, rode up to me at the 
top of the hill and said, ' Well, I think we shall do 
it now.' 

:f The French soon began to retreat, and we 
moved on to the position which had been occupied 
by Foy. Lord Wellington and his staff were riding 
behind and saw it all. He said in his despatch, 
' This attack led by the 52nd Regiment dislodged the 

i8i4-] BATTLE OF ORTHES. 203 

enemy from the heights and gave us the victory.' 
He could not help saying that." 

At the time when Colborne was ordered to 
advance with the 52nd for no Bother corps of the 
Light Division was engaged except the ist Cac^a- 
dores, which had just previously been repulsed 
" the moment," as Napier says, " was most danger- 
ous." Soult, according to the story, had slapped 
his thigh, exclaiming, " At last I have him." Cole 
and Picton had alike failed. Colborne was left to 
give his own orders the words to deploy, to 
advance, to halt and fire came from him alone. To 
him, " with the active assistance of George Napier and 
Winterbottom," to him and the 52nd, " soldiers," as 
,W. Napier says, " who had never yet met their match in 
the field," the victory of Orthes was mainly due. Col- 
borne's attack carried the ridge, and in his own words, 
" arrested the offensive movement of the French by 
uniting the operations of the 4th and 3rd Divisions, 
both of which had been checked or repulsed at the 
time the 52nd opened fire." " The narrow pass 
behind St. Boes was opened, and Wellington, 
seizing the critical moment, thrust the 4th and 7th 
Divisions, Vivian's cavalry and two battalions of 
artillery through, and spread a front beyond. The 
victory was thus secured."^ 

After the battle of Orthes the 52nd was in canton- 
ments at Barcelona from the Qth to the iQth March. 
On the 2Oth it attacked the enemy near Tarbes. 
During the night of the 2 1 st the enemy retired upon 

* Napier, Bk. XXIV., ch. iii. 


On the morning of the loth April the Light Divi- 
sion crossed the Garonne by a pontoon bridge near 
Ausonne and the whole army moved forward to the 
attack. The Light Division approached Toulouse 
by the Montauban road and subsequently moved to 
its left to the support of Lieutenant-General 
Freyre's Spanish corps, which was destined to 
attack the heights of La Pugade. The Spaniards, 
having failed in their attacks, fell back in the 
greatest disorder, but by a forward movement of the 
2nd Brigade, Light Division, under Colonel Barnard, 
the French were checked in their pursuit and the 
communication over the River Ers was preserved. 
In the course of the afternoon Cole's and Clinton's 
Divisions attacked the redoubts of La Pugade on 
the Calvinet side, while the 52nd and 95th advanced 
on the opposite side. After a very determined 
resistance the enemy abandoned all his works about 
5 p.m., and the allied army formed upon the heights 
overlooking the town.* 

Colborne thus commented on the battle of 
Toulouse : 

" I remember getting up very early at about 4 in 
the morning to see the men come over the river on 
a bridge of boats. It had just before been carried 
away. There were two French soldiers on the other 
side, and one rode away and the other stayed to 
see us. 

" When the battle began the Spaniards were sent 
up a hill to attack the French who were at the top. 
It was a most difficult thing. I should have been 

* Moorsom, pp. 231, 232. 


sorry to have had to do it with two Light Divisions, 
and I remember standing at the bottom, looking at 
them with wonder and trembling, and then seeing 
them come running down as hard as they could. 
The French drove every man away. I had a little 
wound then, a three-cornered piece out of my left 
arm, but I ran as hard as I could to the 5 2nd. All 
the officers, seeing the Spaniards flying, were calling 
out, ' Stop them ! stop them ! don't let them go ! ' 
but I called out, ' Yes, yes, let them go and clear 
our fronts/ So they ran on, and our van was left 
clear. The next day I was riding near the place 
when Lord Wellington and his staff passed, and he 
called out to me, ' Well, Colborne, did you ever see 
anything like that? Was that like the rout at 
Ocana ? ' Sol said, ' Oh, I don't know ; they ran 
to the bridge, I believe. 5 * To the bridge, indeed! 
To the Pyrenees! I dare say they are all back in 
Spain by this time.' They were not like the 
Cagadores; they were badly disciplined, and they 
never ought to have been set to do such a difficult 
thing. I remember a Frenchman saying to me 
afterwards, ' I was watching the battle from the roof 
of a house, and when I saw the Spaniards run I 
would have given all I was worth to have seen one 
red-coat on the crest of the hill.' The French people 
were very anxious then to have the war over. 

" When the Spaniards came back Lord 
Wellington said to Pakenham, * There I am, 
with nothing between me and the enemy ! ' Paken- 
ham said, ' Well, I suppose you'll order up the 
Light Division now/ and he replied, * I'll be hanged 
if I do/ It was the worst arranged battle that 


could be, nothing but mistakes." (Lord Seaton, 
giving this account at his dinner table, showed the 
various positions with wineglasses.) " There was 
Toulouse, and this is the hill in front which the 
French had fortified, and Hill's Division was over 
there and had nothing to do with it; and Picton's 
made a false attack there, which turned out a real 
one, and he lost 1,500 men; and then Marshal 
Beresford had to come round there and across the 
river, all down the French lines, with the French 
firing at him, so that he lost a great many men, to 
resume the attack on the extreme left which the 
Spaniards had abandoned. So two isolated attacks 
were made. It was a most extraordinary battle. I 
think the Duke almost deserved to have been beaten. 

"At Toulouse, too, the 52nd and I did great 
work, but I must not brag of my doings, or I shall 
be like Sir H. D., who told someone here that ' he 
had been" greatly distinguished both in the field and 
in the Cabinet/ and the person to whom he said so 
went and told everyone else and they all laughed at 
him finely. 

" After the battle was over, at about 6 o'clock in 
the evening, I was on the hill with the 52nd, stand- 
ing on the glacis we had taken. There was a 
redoubt opposite, and I had no idea there was a 
man there, I thought they had all evacuated it long 
before, when suddenly bang went a gun just oppo- 
site, scattering grape-shot all around us. One of 
the 52nd officers was standing by me, but fortunately 
none of us was hurt. I then saw that the redoubt 
was full of soldiers. That, I think, was the last 
gun fired in the war. Then the French retired into 

1814.] END OF THE WAR. 207 

the town, and next morning marched out of it, and 
we entered, and soon after heard of Napoleon's 
abdication and the proclamation of peace." 

The great war, thanks to the tenacity of the Duke 
of Wellington, was brought to a glorious con- 
clusion. What Cclborne thought of his great 
commander is seen in the following words written 
about 1826 : ^ 

" They who have observed the Duke of Wellington, and 
are acquainted with the difficulties he encountered in 
Portugal and Spain ; who are persuaded of this fact, that 
he, with a small army under his immediate control, was 
the chief cause of detaining in Spain and employing 
during five years from 100,000 to 200,000 French troops, 
will pronounce that his reputation, high as it is, has not 
reached near its proper level. When his resource, firm- 
ness, economical management of his troops, the informa- 
tion that guided his operations, his foresight in nicely 
calculating on the presumption of the French commanders, 
his splendid combinations . . . shall be demonstrated, 
as well as the gigantic genius and strength he displayed 
in throwing off that dead weight on military operations, 
the shackles of the Corps Diplomatique, Europe will not 
refuse him that celebrity which is his due, and which 
political intrigues alone could deprive him of." 

On the 22nd April the 52nd went into canton- 
ments at Castel Sarrasin. Sir Harry Smith tells of 
the obligation he was under at this time to Colonel 
Colborne, who exerted himself to get him appointed 
to the expedition going under Major- General Ross to 
America, and how Colborne rode with him in one day 
to Toulouse and back to get the matter arranged. 
" Daylight saw me and dear Colborne full gallop 
thirty-four miles to breakfast. We were back again 


at Castel Sarrasin by four in the afternoon, after a 
little canter of sixty-eight miles, not regarded as 
any act of prowess, but just a ride. In those days," 
he concludes, " there were men." 

On the 3rd of June the Light Division set out 
for Bordeaux, where it arrived on the i4th. On 
the way (nth June) the two regiments of Portu- 
guese Ca9adores, which had been associated with it 
for nearly four years, took their departure for home. 
"We had a very affecting scene," said Colborne, 
" when, after the war was over, we parted company 
with the Ca^adores. The brigade was drawn up in 
two columns and they marched through. We were 
really very sorry to part." 

On the 4th June Colborne was made brevet- 
colonel and aide-de-camp to the Prince Regent, 
receiving at the same time the Peninsular gold cross 
and three clasps. The 52nd embarked at Pauillac 
on the 1 7th June and landed at Plymouth on the 
27th. On the same day Colborne joined his wife 
at Puslinch. From there they paid a visit to 
Antony, and on the 2Oth July left Puslinch for 
London, where, on the 25th, Colonel Colborne 
received the appointment of military secretary to the 
Prince of Orange, then commander of the British 
forces in the Netherlands, and looked upon for the 
moment as the destined husband of Princess Char- 
lotte of Wales. In this capacity Colborne had the 
practical direction of the force in the Netherlands 
until Napoleon's return from Elba. 

Colborne proceeded to Brussels on 7th August, 
unaccompanied by his wife, but returned to Devon- 
shire to fetch her at the end of November. On the 

i8i 4 -5-] HONOURS FOR COLBORNE. 209 

4th December they witnessed the " gay wedding " 
of Lord Fitzroy Somerset to Lady Emily 
Wellesley, and soon after were disturbed by a 
report that the 52nd was to go to America, in which 
case, Colborne informed the Prince of Orange, he 
would accompany his regiment. This prospect was 
dispelled, however, by the course of events. 

On the 2nd January, after the re-constitution of 
the Order of the Bath, Colonel Colborne became a 

In spite of this succession of honours, however, 
he seems not to have been fully satisfied with the 
treatment he received. Late in his life, when Mr. 
Leeke remarked to him, " I suppose you, Sir, have 
not passed through your military career without 
meeting with your mortifications and trials ? " he 
replied, " No, indeed! In 1814, at the close of the 
Peninsular War, when they made me a K.C.B., 
King's aide-de-camp and a full colonel, I was 
exceedingly annoyed and vexed at their putting two 
junior lieutenant-colonels over my head in the list 
of colonels. On my remonstrating on the unfair- 
ness of this proceeding, they made the excuse that 
these men were thus favoured because they had 
brought home despatches. If I had not been a poor 
man if I could have afforded it, I would have 
thrown my commission in their faces. In after 
years they offered to place me before these men, 
but I then refused it."* 

Colborne had many stories of the Prince of 
Orange : 

* Leeke, II., p. 13. 


' The Prince went out to Portugal as a volunteer, 
and that was where he first knew the Duke. He 
had been at Oxford for some time, and he brought 
out with him two tutors, one of them a Mr. Johnson. 
The Duke could not bear Mr. Johnson because he 
once asked the Duke a mathematical question. 
The Duke was talking about musk rats, saying they 
left a taste in bottles of wine. So Johnson said, 
' But, Sir, I don't understand how the rats, being so 
much larger, can possibly get into the necks of the 
bottles.' The Duke said, ' Oh, I don't know how 
they get in, but I know they do it.' 

" I ventured once at Brussels to give my opinion 
to the Prince of Orange, and he was rather offended 
at my differing from him and turned round and said, 
' How do you mean, my good sir ? ' It was the only 
time I think he ever spoke sharply to me. How- 
ever, a few days later he came to me and said, ' I 
should just like to look at that memorandum you 
made the other day.' 

" The King of Holland once complained to the 
Prince of his mixing so much with English officers. 
He replied, ' Why, you had me brought up among 
the English and educated like the English, and you 
can't expect me now to cut all my old friends.'* 

" Another time the King said in the presence of the 
Court, ' Why, you will never be fit to be the King of 
your own country. You can't even speak your own 
language. Do you think, if I were to die to-morrow, 

* Lady Sarah Napier writes in December, 1814, of the Prince of 
Orange: " The eldest son . . . will ruin himself in Belgium by his 
devotion to the English." Life and Letters of Lady Sarah Lennox, II., 
p. 264. 


you would be fit to succeed me ? ' The Prince said, 
* Yes, I do.' He came to me in high spirits after- 
wards, saying, ' I think I have astonished them all.' 

" He was very fond of the Belgians and of being 
at Brussels: they are a much more lively people 
than the Dutch. 

" Next door to us lived Sir Robert Godden. He 
was a very good sort of fellow, but had very cold 
manners. He had an attache named St. George 
who once came into my room and said indignantly, 
' Is it possible I can live with Sir Robert after this? 

He called me to-day and said, " Lord is 

coming to dine with me, and I must request you 
will not open your mouth, for we shall be talking 
of things you know nothing at all about! " I 
believe St. George did leave him soon after on 
account of that very speech! 

" The Duke of Wellington proposed to the King 
of Holland a line of fortifications along his frontier, 
but the King said, ' My idea is to have a fortified 
town at each end, and then if the enemy enter we 
can soon drive him out, but how am I to defend so 
many fortifications ? J The Duke said, ( Oh, we'll 
always send you over 50,000 pensioners/ ' Oh, no. 
If the enemy were once to get into those fortified 
towns we should never get them out again ; we are 
better without them/ And I partly agreed with him. 

" I was very much amused at a conversation that 
took place in my presence between the Prince of 
Orange and Mr. Stuart (Lord Stuart de Rothesay). 
It was just as Bonaparte had returned from Elba, 
but before war was declared. At my suggestion, 
half-a-dozen officers had been sent in different direc- 


tions to give intelligence of his advance, and a 
courier had been stopped and searched and his 
despatches taken from under his saddle. The 
Prince had the despatches and sent for Mr. Stuart, 
the British Ambassador, who, when he came, said, 
' You should not have taken them ; war has not 
been declared. It might be a very serious thing/ 
' Oh, then/ said the Prince, ' we will send them back 
again directly without opening them/ * No/ said 
Mr. Stuart, ' that's no use. You had better open 
them now you have them, for if you were to swear 
you had not opened them after having had them 
half an hour in your possession, no one in Europe 
would believe you/ However, they were of no 
consequence, merely Bonaparte's notifications to the 
Danish and other courts that he had been once 
more called to power by the voice of the French 
nation, &c. 

: ' The Prince married a sister of the King of 
Prussia. It was said that the marriage was 
arranged by the Duchess of Oldenburg. I was 
sorry when I heard of it, as I knew there was no 
chance then of his being all but King of England. 
I believe he has been very unhappy since he lost 

: * When Bonaparte came back from Elba the 
Duke of Wellington, then ambassador in Paris, 
was at Vienna. He was then appointed Com- 
mander-in-chief (the Prince of Orange not being 
fit to command an army), and came down from 
Vienna to Brussels. I had gone back to my regi- 
ment just before. 

" The Government at home had written to me, 


begging me to prevent the Prince from engaging 
in any affair of his own before the combined oper- 
ations. He could not imagine why, but he found 
out that Clinton and others had been writing about 
it. I remember that old Sir Hudson Lowe, who 
was a great fidget, was very much afraid of some- 
thing of this sort. The Prince had taken the army 
before Enghien, and Lowe came to me, saying, * I 
really think he is trying to bring on a battle before 
the Duke arrives!'" 



THE 52nd Regiment had received orders to sail for 
America, and had twice put to sea and been frus- 
trated by contrary winds when the news of 
Napoleon's escape from Elba and the renewal of 
the war caused its hasty recall. The regiment 
sailed from Plymouth on 27th March, 1815 and 
reached Brussels on 4th April. 

William Leeke, who joined the 52nd as an ensign 
on nth May, tells us that he found it at Lessines. 
A few days later Sir John Colborne, after sending 
his wife home from Brussels, joined, and took com- 
mand of the regiment. Having mentioned that 
Colborne advised him to provide himself with a 
horse, Leeke adds : " Sir John Colborne always 
strongly advocated the importance of infantry 
officers, when on active service, having riding- 
horses, and used to say that if, from insufficiency of 
income they found it difficult to manage this, still they 
should stint themselves in wine and in everything 
else in order to keep a horse, if possible. As 
mounted officers they were more useful under very 
many circumstances ; they were less tired at the 
end of a day's march and more ready for any 

1815.] NEW CALL TO ARMS. 215 

duty which might be required of them; they could 
be more effective in bringing up stragglers on a long 
and weary march ; some of them might be usefully 
employed when extra staff-officers were required. I 
think on the long march of upwards of 50 miles 
from Quevres-au-camp to Waterloo all but two of 
the officers of the 52nd were mounted."* 

The 52nd now formed part of Adam's Brigade of 
Clinton's Division. This division was cantoned in 
June about Quevres-au-camp. 

It must have been late on the i5th June when, 
as Colborne told the tale, " orders suddenly came 
for us to move in consequence of Napoleon's 
advance. Night was coming on, and I observed, 
' I'll undertake to say, from my experience, that if 
you march to-night, considering the circumstances 
a strange road, darkness, the expectation of coming 
in contact with the enemy you won't go two miles/ 
And so it turned out. Our division did not march 
till morning, and before we had gone three miles we 
came up with stragglers and regiments halted, and 
passed several divisions in great confusion." 

The 52nd halted at midnight near Braine-le- 
Comte in torrents of rain. At 2 a.m. on the i7th 
the regiment again fell in and reached Nivelles 
about 7. After remaining there about four hours 
it moved off slowly, in company with other troops, 
towards Waterloo, the pace being due to the weari- 
ness produced by the previous marching and the 
fact that, by Colborne's order, each man carried 120 
rounds of ball cartridge, 60 rounds of it in the knap- 

* Lord Seaton's Regiment at Waterloo, I., p. 7. 


sack ; a precaution of which the wisdom was seen 
in the battle. 

Leeke writes : " About midway between Nivelles 
and Hougomont the 52nd halted for rather more 
than two hours. I heard Sir John Colborne asking 
if any of the officers could lend him the cape of a 
boat cloak as he wished to lie down for a couple of 
hours and get some sleep. I had a very large boat- 
cloak with a cape and hood to it. I unhooked the 
cape and hood and handed them to him. He wore 
them over his uniform during the whole of the Battle 
of Waterloo."* 

At about half past seven p.m. Adam's Brigade, 
consisting of the 52nd and ;ist regiments, the 2nd 
Battalion and part of the 3rd Battalion 95th Regi- 
ment was posted on the high ground immediately 
to the eastward of Merbe Braine, its particular place 
in the position in which the Duke of Wellington 
intended to fight next day. Here it passed the 
night. Colborne writes of this night : " I recollect 
after the long march I was so tired that I threw 
myself on the ground in my cloak and was sound 
asleep almost directly. I just heard someone say, 
* Let him sleep ! let him sleep ! ' I suppose they 
had been going to wake me about some trifle or 
other." But according to a story told by Lord 
Albemarle, Colborne did not spend the whole night 
thus in the open. 

Lord Albemarle tells how he himself (then Ensign 
Keppel), in the pouring rain of the night of the 
1 7th, wearied out with marching, threw himself on 

* I, P. 13- 

1 8 is.] BEFORE THE BATTLE. 21? 

the bare hillside and slept soundly till 2 o'clock, 
when his servant woke him and led him to a cottage 
in the hamlet of Merbe Braine. " Here fragments of 
chairs, tables, window-frames and doors were heaped 
into the chimney-place. Around the fire so made 
were three men seated on chairs and drying their 
clothes. Not a word was spoken, but room was 
made for me. I followed their example. At day- 
break my fellow-occupants of the hut resumed their 
uniforms. With the appearance of one of them I 
was particularly struck a fine, soldierlike-looking 
man, considerably over six feet in height. This 
was Colonel Sir John Colborne."* 

At twenty past eleven on the i8th the ball was 
opened. The 52nd were now formed in open 
column on the ground of the bivouac. In common 
with the rest of Clinton's Division and the Bruns- 
wick contingent, they were at first kept in reserve 
in second line nearly on the right of the British 
army. The farm of Hougomont in front of the 
extreme right of the British position was occupied 
by part of Byng's Brigade of Guards and some 
Nassau troops, and the ridge from thence half-way 
to the Charleroi Road (the centre of the position) by 
the rest of Cooke's ist British Division of Guards, 
viz., Maitland's Brigade and some companies of 
Byng's Brigade. 

As to the battlefield, Colborne said afterwards in 
conversation : 

" Some days before the battle of Waterloo, the 

* Fifty Years of my Life (3rd Ed.), p. 139. My attention was kindly 
drawn to the above story by Field-Marshal Lord Wolseley, who 
informed me that he had often heard it from Lord Albemarle's lips. 


1 4th, I think, the Duke of Wellington was on the 
field, and fixed on that place as the one on which 
the battle, he thought, could be fought. He was 
asked if any entrenchments should be cast up. He 
said, ' No, of course not ; that would show them 
where we mean to fight.' At the time, many were 
of opinion that we should march into France. 

" I remember hearing old Picton say just before the 
battle, ' I never saw a worse position taken up by 
any army. I have just galloped from left to right.' 
He went on to talk of the expected Gazette in very 
high spirits. ' Some friends of mine, 5 he said, 
1 asked me to write to them, but I said, " Won't the 
Gazette do for you? " He was killed a few hours 

It is convenient to insert here one or two more 
stories which Colborne told late in life in connexion 
with the battle or with some of its heroes. 

" Captain Whinyates* took great pride in his 
2nd Rocket Troop, but just before the battle of 
iWaterloo the Duke thought it would be more 
advantageous to do away with it and use the horses 
for guns. Sir George Wood told me that he remon- 
strated with the Duke, and said, * It will break the 
young man's heart, Sir, if you do that.' The Duke 
answered pettishly, ' Confound his heart.' How- 
ever, a fortnight after he said to Sir G. Wood, ' Well, 
how is the young man's heart?' ' He bears it 
remarkably well,' answered Sir G. W T ood. ' Then 

* Colonel Whinyates tells me that the Duke eventually let the 
Troop take 800 rockets into action with six 6-pr. guns, and the 
rockets were used with good effect. 


tell him/ said the Duke, ' that it shall not be the 
worse for him/ 

" Lord Anglesey was a capital officer. I have 
had several opportunities of admiring his sagacity 
and coolness. I remember once before a battle 
his coming down with the greatest coolness, twist- 
ing his moustache, and saying, ' The enemy appear 
small, but I think there are more behind. 3 And 
another time, ' Our lads are ready for the charge, 
but I think they had better march fonvard first ' all 
with the greatest sangfroid imaginable. There 
could be no comparison between him and Murat, 
because Murat had always far more troops under his 

" Old Alava was highly amused once at Brussels 
at hearing a discussion between Lord Anglesey and 
Vivian about their dress. Vivian came to consult his 
master about what dress he should wear at a levee, 
and they were talking about it just like ladies. ' Oh, 
we must put on our yellow boots and pelisses/ Old 
Alava came away laughing, ' Well, I never should 
have supposed that those two fellows had anything 
in their heads/ I recollect poor Sir John Moore 
getting into a scrape once for saying, when asked if 
the hussars were to wear their pelisses, ' Oh, yes, and 
their muffs, too/ ' 

The concluding hours of the battle of Waterloo 
were the most glorious in Colborne's life. All that 
he had learnt hitherto, his quickness of eye, his 
rapidity of judgment, his instant resource, his daring 
acceptance of responsibility, now contributed their 
part to defeat Napoleon's last mighty effort, and 
wrest, for England and her allies, the hard-fought 


victory. We may leave for a moment any discus- 
sion of the part played in the last scene of Waterloo 
by other troops. If all that they claim be conceded 
to them, Colborne's glory is hardly the less. 

We will therefore give an account of the part 
played by Colborne in the battle, based on accounts 
furnished by himself,* and by Captain W. C. Yonge, 
of the 52nd,f and by Mr. Leeke, of the 52nd,J who 
were both connected with him by marriage. 

The 52nd moved from its original position near 
Merbe Braine soon after 3 o'clock, or four hours 
after the action commenced, and advanced with the 
other regiments of the brigade to the right centre of 
the front line. Here the brigade formed squares, 
taking the place of the Brunswick Light Infantry 
Battalions, which, in close columns, repeatedly 
charged by cavalry and pierced through by showers 
of cannon shot, had suffered severely. 

At the moment of the arrival of the brigade 
nothing could be more disastrous than the appear- 
ance of this part of the position, the ground so 
thickly strewed with these poor mangled Bruns- 
wickers and the long line of British guns, as far as 
the eye could reach, every one of them silenced, 
overpowered by the number and greater weight of 
metal of the French artillery, the gun carriages, 
many of them, cut to pieces by the shot, and the 
gunners either killed or driven to seek the shelter 
of the squares from the cavalry, who careered among 
them unmolested. Between the great attacks the 

* See Appendix II. 

j- Memoir of Lord Section's Services, privately printed, 1853. 
J Lord Seaton's Regiment at Waterloo, 1866. 


fight still smouldered about the wood and orchard 
of Hougomont, and, apparently for the support of 
the troops engaged there, after a halt of about half 
an hour on the summit of the ridge, the brigade, 
advancing down the slope of the hill, took post in 
the plain to the left of the enclosures, the 7ist in 
battalion square next the wood, the 52nd in squares 
of wings to their left, and the 95th in echelon further 
to the left and rear. 

Here the brigade remained for an hour or two. 
Two of the enemy's guns were on a high bank or 
ridge in front of the 52nd at about 200 yards' distance, 
though only to be seen by the mounted officers, and 
these guns and a howitzer fired constantly on the 
squares. The right and front faces of the 52nd 
meanwhile opened a fire obliquely on some French 
Cuirassiers who were making a movement towards 
the rear of Hougomont, towards the 7ist, behind 
which regiment the remainder of Clinton's Division 
was posted. These Cuirassiers continually menaced 
the 52nd. Leeke says that when they attempted 
to charge it came as a relief, because at those times 
the French cannonading stopped. 

While the regiment was in squares and being 
cannonaded an incident occurred which we can give 
in Colborne's own words : " A shell came close to a 
corner of a column of the 52nd, followed by a ball 
which passed exactly over the whole column, who 
instantly bobbed their heads. * In the excitement 

* Capt. Yonge, in hearing the story, interpolated at this point, 
" Perhaps you did not see the cause of the men's ducking their heads. 
A sergeant had a ball pass between his legs, cutting a piece out of each 
of them, and he cried out pretty loud. That had an effect on some 
who had never been in action before." 


of the moment, more to encourage the men than 
anything else, I called out, ' For shame ! for shame ! 
That must be the 2nd Battalion, I am sure/ (They 
were recruits.) In an instant every man's head 
went as straight as an arrow.* 1 But a report got 
about that I had addressed myself particularly to a 
young man named Scott, an officer who had just 
joined; and at Paris I was asked the question by 
some officers. I assured them there was no foun- 
dation for the report. I had observed young Scott 
behaving particularly well and charging up the hill, 
seemingly in remarkably good spirits. I said, 
indeed, that I was sorry I had made the remark 
at all. This young Scott afterwards left the 
army and went to Cambridge, where he wrote a 
very pretty prize poem entitled * The Battle of 
Waterloo. 5 

" However, my exhortation to the men had its 
effect. Soon afterwards Charles Beckwith came 
riding over to me and said, ' Well, I hope now you 
are satisfied.' There was a galling fire pouring 
down on us and the other regiments were rather 
quaking and the 52nd were standing as firm as 
possible. Beckwith said, ' What do you think I've 
just heard Lord Uxbridge say? " I've charged at the 
head of every cavalry regiment, and they all want 
spurs" Beckwith was in the Quartermaster- 
General's department. On his way back, poor 
fellow, he lost his leg by a cannon-ball about three- 

* One who had heard Lord Seaton tell the story gives the 

conclusion thus : " ' Then ' he would say and the narration was 

completed by the drawing up of his noble head into its grandest 
military bearing." Christian Remembrancer, October, 1867. 


quarters of an hour, I suppose, before the battle was 


The Duke of Wellington now sent orders to Sir 
John Colborne by Colonel Hervey to withdraw the 
regiment up the hill. Colborne desired Colonel 
Hervey to tell the Duke, if the order had been given 
from the vicinity of the enemy's guns, that the 52nd 
was protected by the ground in front. Colonel 
Hervey promised to convey this message. 

However, half an hour later, seeing the Nassau 
Regiment running in disorder out of the wood of 
Hougomont, and supposing that Hougomont 
would be abandoned and the flank of the 52nd 
exposed, Colborne began to retire the regiment 
through Colonel Gold's guns to the cross-road on 
the ridge. The 7ist fell back at the same time. 

As the regiment was retiring, under a murderous 
cannonade, with Colborne riding in its rear, a colonel 
of the French Cuirassiers galloped out of the French 
ranks, holloaing repeatedly, " Vive le Roi ! " and 
riding up to Sir John, said, " Ce coquin Napoleon 

* Colborne went on to speak of Charles Beckwith and his family as 
follows : " After that he went to England. Later he became interested 
in the Vaudois, and he has been among them part of every year since. 
The Beckwiths have been a great army family. There was a grand- 
father who was employed in the army with Prince Ferdinand at the 
time of the battle of Minden, and Prince Ferdinand wrote home that 
the Commissary General should have been the Commander, and the 
Commander the Commissary General. I don't know who the Com- 
mander was. There were several uncles there was one who took 
several little paltry islands in the West Indies, and used to say, ' Lord 
Wellington gallops, but I trot.' I suppose he meant that he would 
get up to him some time. He was never in the Peninsula. He made 
a great fortune in the West Indies, and when he died he left it all to 
Colonel Charles Beckwith, who very nobly, I think, divided it amongst 
his brothers and sisters. Then there was his brother, General 
Beckwith, a very funny fellow, who was employed in the Peninsula and 
who died in the East Indies." 


est la avec les Gardes. Voila Vattaque qui se fait." 
Colborne looked through his glass at the spot indi- 
cated by the officer and, it is said, saw Napoleon for 
the only time in his life. He was in his greatcoat, 
with his hands behind his back, walking backwards 
and forwards in front of the position while dense 
French columns were in full march on the plateau 
of La Haie Sainte, near the farm. 

Meanwhile the 52nd had been halted on the 
summit of the hill. Colonel Gold's guns in front 
of them on the cross-road were silent ; there was 
scarcely any firing except in the rear of La Haie 
Sainte and on our left centre. 

Sir John Colborne's anxious attention was given 
to a column rapidly advancing, in agreement with the 
warning of the French colonel, to a point somewhat 
to the left of the 52nd. He could see no prepar- 
ations to resist the attack and was alarmed lest the 
British line should be pierced. The only remedy 
appeared to be to attack the column in the Hank. 

Accordingly without any orders from his 
superior officer he took upon himself the bold 
measure of advancing the 52nd and wheeling its 
whole line on its left as a pivot, as if it had been a 
single company, so as to bring it nearly at right 
angles to its previous formation and facing directly 
on the line of march of the attacking columns. 

Leeke says : " As we passed over . . . the 
crest, we plainly saw about 300 or 400 yards from 
us in the direction of La Belle Alliance. . . two 
long columns ... of about equal length advancing 
... in the direction of Maitland's Brigade of 
Guards, stationed on our left. The whole number 


. . . appeared to us to amount to about 10,000 men." 
(Colborne puts the number at 6,000 or 7,000.) 
" There was a small interval of apparently not 
more than twenty paces between the first and second 
column ; from the left centre of our line we did not 
at any time see through this interval." 5 * (Colborne 
used to say, however, " .We could see daylight 
between them.")t 

The 52nd having been thus placed in two lines 
nearly parallel with the moving columns of the 
Imperial Guard, Colborne ordered a strong company 
to skirmish in front. At this moment Sir Frederick 
Adam, commanding the brigade, rode up and 
inquired what Colborne intended to do. He replied, 
'' To make that column feel our fire." Adam 
approved, ordered Colborne to move on, and rode 
off to the 7 ist to order that regiment to follow. The 
Duke at the same moment had sent Colonel Percy 
to order the 52nd to advance, but his order had been 
anticipated by Colborne. 

The company of skirmishers having been ordered 
to advance without any support except from the 
battalion and to fire into the French column at any 
distance, the 52nd formed in two lines of half com- 
panies after giving three cheers, followed, passing 
along the front of Maitland's Brigade of Guards, 

* P. 43- 

f According to the important memorandum by General Petit in the 
Morrison Collection, London, the main attack was made by the 
following troops of the Old Guard, in squares of battalions in Echelon, 
the right battalion leading ist Battalion 3rd Grenadiers, 4th Grena- 
diers, 4th Chasseurs, ist Battalion 3rd Chasseurs, 2nd Battalion 
3rd Chasseurs (total about 3,675 men). He says that the 
2nd Battalions 2nd Grenadiers and 2nd Chasseurs (total about 1,250 
men) were despatched after the main column, but apparently not as 
part of the same attack. 



who were stationary and not firing. Four com- 
panies of the 2nd Battalion 95th were on the left of 
the 52nd, the ;ist and the rest of the division a little 
behind. As soon as the French column felt the fire 
of the skirmishing party a considerable part of it 
halted, and, facing to their left towards the 52nd, 
opened a very sharp fire on the skirmishers and on 
the battalion. 

The 52nd advanced till they found themselves 
protected by the hill from the fire of the Imperial 
Guard. The two right-hand companies having been 
thrown into some disorder, Colborne called a halt to 
rectify the line. He then ordered the bugles to 
sound the advance and the whole line charged. 
'* The Imperial Guard, without waiting for the 
charge, broke, and rushing in confusion obliquely 
to the rear, involved in their disorder the other 
troops in echelon* to their right, suffering immense 
loss from the running fire of the 52nd at point-blank 
distance. The 7ist, too, opened fire on the retreat- 
ing multitude, which to these regiments standing on 
the higher ground showed, as it crowded the valley 
towards La Haie Sainte without a vestige of ranks 
remaining, like the vast wreck of a great army. 
Never was disorganisation more sudden or com- 

Wellington, seeing it, ordered the general advance 
of the whole line, which, with the arrival of the Prus- 
sians, effected the victory. But we return to the 
story of Adam's Brigade. 

* So Captain Yonge, meaning" " in echelon to their right and rear.'* 
But according to Mr. Ropes the front column was to the right. 


The two regiments and the four companies of the 
95th, bringing up their left shoulders still in line, 
followed the, routed Guard at double-quick. 

Suddenly a body of British cavalry (the 23rd 
Light Dragoons) was seen approaching the left com- 
pany of the 52nd at full gallop. They were at first 
mistaken for French and fired upon, but being 
recognized, they were allowed to pass through. 
Sir John Colborne's horse was wounded and the 
mistake led to a brief halt, during which the Duke .of 
Wellington came up and said, " Go on, go on ! "* 

After becoming disengaged from the cavalry the 
52nd found that some guns on the right towards La 
Belle Alliance were firing grape into the front of the 
regiment and making some gaps in the line. Sir 
John Colborne was on foot. Both he and Colonel 
Rowan had had their horses shot, and though they 
had jumped on the horses of an abandoned French 
gun and called out to be " cut out," they had had, after 
all, to dismount and follow the regiment in its rapid 
advance unmounted. Seeing the effect of the guns, 
Colborne shouted, " Where are those guns ? They 
are destroying the regiment." Lieutenant Gawler 
told him their position and was directed to take the 
right section and drive them in. He did so, after- 
wards halting for the regiment, which had now 
brought its left shoulder rather more forward, to 
come up. 

Sir John Colborne and Colonel Rowan soon 

* I follow Siborne and Leeke in putting this incursion of the 23rd 
Dragoons after the rout of the French column. Colborne, who is 
followed by Yonge, seems sometimes to put it before : apparently not 
considering that any rout of the complete character described by 
Yonge took place till the last body of French were dispersed. 

I 2 


found plenty of horses with empty saddles and were 
once more mounted. 

Near the Charleroi road three squares of the 
Guard* remained formed and fired on the 52nd and 
7 1 st, but as soon as these regiments began to ascend 
the hill the squares ceased firing, faced to the rear 
as if by word of command, and were soon out of 
sight to which movement some, cannon shot 
passing from the rear over the heads of the two 
regiments, and giving them the first intimation of the 
approach of the Prussians, was doubtless, as it is 
said, an additional inducement. 

At 500 or 600 yards beyond La Haie Sainte the 
52nd came out on the Charleroi road, having in their 
rapid advance left behind a confused mass of guns, 
tumbrils and several hundreds of the enemy who 
became prisoners. 

Sir John ordered the 52nd to " pass the road," and 
having passed to form line and wheel to the right. 
The 52nd then moved on in line, keeping their right 
on the road, and passing La Belle Alliance, were 
joined by skirmishers belonging to Billow's corps of 
Prussians, which shortly after that came obliquely 
from the left. No part of Sir H. Clinton's Division 
but the 52nd crossed the Charleroi road, the rest 
having struck to the right towards Rossomme. At 
nightfall the 52nd halted and were shortly afterwards 
passed by Billow's Corps in column, going in pursuit 
of the routed army. 

* According'to Houssaye, these consisted of the 2nd Battalions of 
the 1st Chasseurs, 2nd Grenadiers and 2nd Chasseurs. Petit seems 
to put only two battalions here, the 2nd Battalions of the ist Chasseurs 
and 3rd Grenadiers. 


Colborne's first care next morning was to send back 
a strong party of the 52nd to remove the wounded 
of the regiment, an attention which was not bestowed 
on those of the army generally, a large portion of 
them remaining on the field the second day after the 

Captain Yonge thus comments on the story which 
has been told : 

" The action which has been related is for several 
reasons worthy of particular notice. First the 
wheeling of a battalion in line, though under such 
circumstances the only practicable mode of changing 
front, was altogether unprecedented; just one of 
those promptings of inspiration that mark the mind 
of a great general. Executed amid a continual 
roar of artillery that rendered words of command 
inaudible, trusting chiefly to the further companies 
that they would be guided by the touch to their 
inward flank, it could hardly have been ventured at 
all but for the previous precaution of the com- 
manding officer, who, when the order was given by 
the Duke that all the regiments in the centre should 
form four deep, rather than loosen his files by that 
formation, had preferred to double his line by placing 
one wing closed up in rear of the other; another 
instance to show how the knowledge of details and 
constant attention to them are essential in order to 
enable an officer to apply his men to the best pur- 
pose. Second. That owing to the skill with which 
the movement was made, seizing the very acme of 
time, never, perhaps, was more signal service done 
by a body of troops so disproportionate in number 
to the force attacked; that force being composed 


of the elite of the enemy's army, the most veteran 
troops in Europe. A line on the flank of a column 
exhibits in the highest degree the triumph of skill 
over numbers. The column has only the alternative 
of flight or destruction. Third. That this adven- 
turous movement was undertaken, upon his sole 
responsibility, by the commanding officer of a single 
battalion, and that from the first onset of the 52nd, 
that regiment and the 7ist proceeded to the close of 
the day without receiving orders from any general 
officer, whether of brigade or division, the 7ist con- 
forming to the movements of the 52nd. Fourth. 
That the successful charge and immediate pursuit 
of the broken column carried Adam's Brigade far 
ahead of the rest of the army, constituting them, as 
it were, an advanced guard to the main body of the 
British army." 

And Captain Yonge's insistence on the importance 
of Colborne's bold movement is echoed by General 
Sir James Shaw-Kennedy, in spite of his adopting 
Siborne's theory of the two attacks of the Imperial 
Guard : 

" It is perhaps impossible to point out in 
history any other instance in which so small 
a force as that with which Colborne acted [at 
^Waterloo] had so powerful an influence on 
the result of a great battle in which the numbers 
engaged on each side were so large." He adds : 
" The discipline of the 52nd Regiment was at all 
times admirable; and Colborne caused the move- 
ments on this occasion to be made with a precision 
which ensured coolness, gave security against all 
attack, and rendered both the firing and the advance 


in line of the battalion of the most formidable 

And in a private letter, dated " Bath, I5th May, 
1864," the same eminent writer speaks still more 
strongly : 

" If you wish to know the two most brilliant events 
of Lord Seaton's life, you must become fully acquainted 
with how he conducted the 52nd Regiment at the battle 
of Orthes, and how he commanded and led the regiment 
in his most brilliant and successful attack on the French 
Guards at Waterloo. Having read a good deal of military 
history, I don't think that I impose upon myself a for- 
midable task when I say that no man can point out to me 
any instance, either in ancient or modern history, of a 
single battalion so influencing the result of a great general 
action as the result of the Battle of Waterloo was in- 
fluenced by the attack of the 52nd Regiment on the 
Imperial Guard, of which it defeated first four bat- 
talions,t and afterwards three other battalions ; and Col- 
borne did almost all this from his own impulse and on his 
own responsibility. Napier was a witness of what was 
done at Orthes ; / of what took place at Waterloo." 

Colonel Gawler, who took part in the movement, 
writes : " The flank attack on the Moyenne Garde 
was really a most important and hazardous measure, 
and to the enemy most destructive in its conse- 
quences. In itself, abstractedly, it was a more 
brilliant thing than either the storming of the Pass 
of Vera or the turning of the crisis at Orthes, for 
both of which Sir John Colborne and the 52nd 

* Notes on the Battle of Waterloo (1865), p. 147. 

t The writer follows Siborne, who maintains that the leading column 
of the Imperial Guard was defeated by Maitland's Guards and that 
Colborne's movement was directed against a second column con- 
sisting of four battalions. 


Regiment obtained especial credit. I was engaged 
in all, and speak as an eye-witness."* 

Colonel Gawler was the means of publishing! an 
interesting French testimony to the effect of Col- 
borne's movement contained in a letter addressed to 
him by Colonel Brotherton on 2nd August, 1833. 
Colonel Brotherton states that having met a French 
officer who had been with the Imperial Guard in 
the attack he had himself adverted to the singular 
coincidence of the Imperial Guard encountering our 
British Guards at such a crisis. " Upon which he 
[the French officer] observed, without seeming in 
the least to detract from the merit of the troops 
which the column had to encounter in its front, who, 
he said, showed ' tres bonne contenance? that I was 
wrong ... in supposing the attack was solely 
repulsed by the troops opposed to it in front ; ' for/ 
added he, ' nous fumes principal ement repousses 
par une attaque de flanc tres vive qui nous 
e eras a? ' We may add the testimony of a young 
Engineer officer, contained in a letter written two 
days after the battle. " An attack," he says, " was 
made by the Imperial Guards and reserve. For 
some time the combatants were enveloped in the 
smoke, and the event of the day was in suspense. 
The column, however, was taken in flank and 
broken. Assailed on all sides it became a flight."}: 

Chesney, while giving the Guards a great part 

* Unpublished letter to Captain Siborne, May I5th, 1843. 
f United Service Journal, 1833. 

\ Letters of an Officer of the Corps of Royal Engineers (John 
Sperling), 1872, p. 133. 

Waterloo Lectures, p. 215. 


of the credit of repulsing the Imperial Guard, 
continues : 

" Enough remains for that famous regiment, 
already high in the roll of history, whose splendid 
flank attack and steady pursuit, with the final over- 
throw of the intact battalions which it met at the 
foot of the hill, prove that neither Colborne nor his 
men were over-praised in the glowing pages of the 
Peninsular War. The Dutch have assigned much 
of the credit here to Chasse's Division, which 
opportunely reinforced the line about the time of 
the assault, but the proof is undeniable from the 
testimony of numerous eye-witnesses, that Colborne, 
keeping steadily in advance of the rest of the Anglo- 
allied infantry, defeated the only battalions left 
unbroken of the Guard."* 

It was long before the achievement of Adam's 
Brigade obtained recognition. 

The Duke of Wellington's despatch of iQth June 
said nothing as to the manner in which Napoleon's 
last attack was defeated. Nothing could be vaguer 
than its language : 

" About seven in the evening . . . the enemy made a 
desperate effort with cavalry and infantry, supported by 
the fire of artillery, to force our left centre, near the farm 
of La Haye Sainte, which, after a severe contest, was 
defeated ; and having observed that the troops retired 
from this attack in great confusion ... I ... advanced 
the whole line of infantry, supported by the cavalry 
and artillery. The attack succeeded . . . the enemy fled." 

Unfortunately, when he came to praise his troops, 

* The two battalions of the 1st Grenadiers, according to Petit, 
were still standing. 


the Duke used words which were capable of mis- 
interpretation : 

" The division of Guards, under Lieutenant-General 
Cooke, Major-General Maitland and Major-General Byng, 
set an example which was followed by all." 

These words apparently refer to the fact that the 
first French attack of the day on Hougomont 
was repelled by the Guards, and do not mean that 
the British Guards defeated the Imperial Guards 
at the close of the action Cooke having then left 
the field. 

Yet though Colborne was too much engaged 
to know anything about it at the time the 3rd 
Battalion of Maitland's Brigade of Guards were 
undoubtedly engaged, either with the head of the 
column which Colborne assailed in the flank, with 
some column in echelon with it to its right, according 
to Mr. Ropes' theory, or with a body of massed 
skirmishers, according to Mr. Leeke's. And from 
this basis of fact, or a misunderstanding of the 
Duke's words, it was quickly accepted that the 
attack of the Imperial Guard had been repelled by 
the British Guards, and by them alone. 

Lord Bathurst, Foreign Minister and Minister of 
War, speaking on the battle in the House of Lords 
on June 23rd, used these words: 

' Towards the close of the day Bonaparte himself, 
at the head of his Guards, made a desperate charge 
upon the British Guards, and the British Guards 
instantly overthrew the French?* 

No word of Colborne's wheeling movement, of 

* Times, 24th June, 1815. 


the flank fire, of the triumphant charge for 800 yards 
of Adam's Brigade ! 

And the Gazette of 29th July contained the 
announcement : 

" His Royal Highness has been pleased to 
approve of the ist Regiment of Foot Guards being 
made a regiment of Grenadiers, and styled ' the i st, 
or Grenadier, Regiment of Foot Guards/ in com- 
memoration of their having defeated the Grenadiers 
of the French Imperial Guard upon this memorable 


Colborne, who believed, rightly or wrongly, that 
he had had a main hand in deciding the battle, on 
reading the Duke's despatch and this announcement 
at Paris, saw, with bitterness, that he had been 
ignored and the praise which should have come to 
him and to the 52nd was given to others. Till that 
time, he says, he had heard nothing of the charge of 
the Guards. 

Even under his sense of wrong, he uttered no 
complaint. His attitude is well seen in a story told 
to Lady Montgomery-Moore by Sir Charles Rowan. 
When the officers of the 52nd were once discussing 
the battle at Paris, and blaming the Duke, Sir John, 
overhearing them, said quietly and emphatically, 
" For shame, gentlemen ! One would think you 
forgot that the 52nd had ever been in battle before ! " 
From that day the matter was never mentioned ; it 
became a point of honour to take it as the Colonel 

For many years Colborne refrained from reading 
accounts of the battle of Waterloo. He was a busy 
man, and he says they roused many painful recollec- 


tions. Perhaps on this account he paid too little 
attention to the claim of the Guards to have repulsed 
a column of the Imperial Guard. The memoranda 
he eventually wrote on the part played by himself 
and his regiment in the battle (or- rather, by his regi- 
ment, for he scrupulously kept himself in the 
background) were inspired by the publication, or 
intended publication, of three works by other 
men: Gawler's Crisis and Close of the Action at 
Waterloo, Siborne's Waterloo, and Moorsom's 
History of the $2nd Regiment* 

But the strong belief he held throughout that the 
52nd, " by stopping the progress of that column, 
made the great charge of the day," throws into 
brighter relief the proud self-repression with which 
he refused to claim that credit for himself which he 
believed he deserved, and the generosity with which 
he ever excused the defects in the Duke's despatch, 
deprecated the attaching of importance to the 
impressions of subordinate officers, and eulogized 
the Duke's generalship alike at Waterloo as in the 
Peninsula. " Never," he writes, " did any com- 
mander gain a victory more by his personal exer- 
tions and by his prompt presence at points where 
the efforts of the enemy had nearly succeeded." 
" Despatches are written in haste, and it is impossible 
for a general to do justice to his army." " Every 
officer being intent on some particular object, with 
a distinct part to perform, his eye is confined to a 
small angle." 

This was the tone of all Colborne's references to 

* See these Memoranda, Appendix II. 


Miss Charlotte Yonge writes of him : " I heard 
him myself only excusing the Duke by saying 
nobody knew how difficult it is to write a despatch 
after a battle, and that the Duke was distressed by 
the sufferings of his wounded staff-officer in the 
house and room with him. Moreover, that there 
had been a messenger sent after himself, who had 
failed to find him as he was looking after his 
wounded, or probably there would have been no 
such omission. That entire absence of self- 
assertion has always seemed to me one of the most 
striking signs of a really great nature I ever saw. 
. . . Indeed, I always remember him and Mr. 
Keble as the two most humble men I ever knew."* 

The following letter to Miss Fanny Bargus was 
written by Colborne immediately after the battle. 
Its reference to the part played by the 52nd is 
disappointingly meagre. No doubt Colborne 
described the battle more fully to his wife, but his 
letters to her are not preserved, having been burnt, 
as is said, at the time of the rebellion in Canada. 

" Nivelles, 

" i gth June, 1815. 

" My dear Fanny, You will be anxious to hear of us 
after the most severe conflict I have ever witnessed, and I 
think it will be the most important in the result William 
Leeke is very well. Our infantry behaved nobly, and the 
52nd as usual. 

" I have only time to write you these few lines. You 
will be surprized at the Gazette; we have lost some of 
our most valuable officers. My kind regards to your 
mother and Maria. Your affectionate brother, 

" Miss Bargus, " J. COLBORNE. 

"118, Sloane-street, Chelsea, London." 

* Monthly Packet, 1888, Christmas Number, p. vii. 




OF GUERNSEY, 1821-1828. 

SIR F. ADAM having been wounded at Waterloo, Sir 
John Colborne now commanded the brigade. 

On iQth June the 52nd marched from Maison du 
Roi to Nivelles, where they enjoyed a wash for the 
first time for three days on the 2Oth to Binche 
on the 2ist they entered France and marched to 
Bavay, on the 22nd to Le Cateau Cambresis, where 
they remained till the 25th. 

Leeke tells us that at this time his boots were very 
dilapidated, and Sir John Colborne, noticing it, 
made him a present of a new pair of his own. 
Marching by Joucour, Lauchy, Roye, Clermont, 
they reached La Chapelle on the 3Oth, where Sir 
John Colborne and other officers were quartered in 
the Chateau of Marshal Moncey and for the first 
time for a fortnight undressed and slept in a bed. 

On the ist July they first saw Paris, and once 
more met some French soldiers, some skirmishers 
having been sent out from St. Denis. Sir John 
Colborne sent down a party of the /ist, who drove 

1815.] MARCH TO PARIS. 239 

them off. On the 2nd the 52nd were alone at 
Argenteuil on the Seine. 

On the 3rd July the French, under Davoust, 
twice attacked the Prussians, but were beaten and 
pursued almost to the walls of Paris. " On the same 
day a Convention was signed, and in the afternoon 
the 52nd crossed the Seine and proceeded to the 
bridge of Neuilly, which Sir John Colborne had 
received orders to cross, but from which the French 
refused to retire. The two front companies of the 
52nd were advanced a short distance in front of the 
column with fixed bayonets. Sir John coolly took 
out his watch and allowed five minutes to the French 
commander in which to give up the bridge or have 
it stormed ; in two or three minutes it was given up. 
The village of Neuilly was occupied, and the 52nd 
passed the night in the walled graveyard."* 

Lord Seaton gives the following account of this 
occurrence : 

" I had been ordered to take a brigade across the 
bridge of Neuilly and put them on the other side 
towards the Bois de Boulogne. Some staff officers, 
Rowan and others, were standing on the bridge. A 
French officer on the other side said we should not 
pass and the staff officers supported him, but I said 
I should see to that, and went on the bridge, while 
the column continued to advance. The French 
officer now began calling out, ' Stop the column ; you 
cannot and you shall not pass ! ' I really began to 
have some doubts whether he was not going to blow 
up the bridge. However, I went on, and the column 

* Moorsom, p. 262 


after me. It was rather a rash thing, but I was 
determined to go over, as I had my orders to post 
my brigade on that side. So while the French 
officer went on vociferating, * Vous ne passerez 
pas! ' I marched them across and right through the 
embrasure. On the other side we found a troop of 
dragoons. Very fine-looking fellows they were, but 
all rather drunk. Their officer also came up in a 
tremendous rage and asked, ' Qu'allez-vous faire ? 
] Allez-vous a Paris ce soir ? ' and all his dragoons 
began galloping round us and covering us with dust. 
However, I marched my men straight on, and posted 
them and ordered them to lie down, and there we 
stayed all night, with our sentries and those of the 
French close together. Then I rode a little further 
to see the town. I met an old Frenchman, who said 
to me, ' You had better not go any further, there is 
a whole body of dragoons round the corner, Us 
sont si enrages' So, on hearing that, I galloped 
back as fast as I could. The soldiers were partly in 
a sort of garden with a wall round it. I remember 
Charley Rowan saying to me next morning, ' Well, 
I never spent such a night and did not think of 
closing my eyes the whole time.' 

" I do not know how it was. I suppose the 
French officer had his orders to keep the bridge and 
I had mine to cross it. He could not have defended 
it with his small force, but a little way from us there 
must have been 80,000 men. They were under 
Davoust, I think. Napoleon was then on his way to 
Cherbourg, I suppose." 

On the 4th July the French army quitted Paris. 
The 52nd proceeded to the Bois de Boulogne, where 

1815.] ENCAMPED IN PARIS. 241 

they stayed till the 7th, when General Adam's Bri- 
gade (the 52nd, ;ist, 2nd and 3rd Battalions 95th) 
had the honour of entering Paris. They were the 
only troops which occupied the city ; the rest of the 
army remained in the Bois de Boulogne. The 
brigade was encamped in the Champs Elysees, the 
52nd being to the left of the road leading towards 
the Seine. Two companies and the quarter-guard 
of the 52nd were close to the garden wall of the 
Duke of Wellington's house and to the Place Louis 
Quinze, now the Place de la Concorde, the remainder 
100 yards further away. 

General Sir Alexander Montgomery-Moore writes 
that Lord Seaton pointed out to him in Paris in 
1857 the spot where his tent stood,* and said the 
Duke of Wellington came and stood on the little 
dwarf wall and called out, " Here, Colborne, here 
are two things for you," handing him the orders of 
Maria Theresa of Austria and St. George of Russia.t 
" I took them," remarked Lord Seaton once, " saying, 
c They do not give me the least pleasure/ but an 
old colonel who was sitting by me said, * Colborne, 
it is my belief you care for them just as much as 
other people/ 

* He had also a billet in the town. See Leeke, I., p. 158. 

f His appointment to the 4th Class of the Order of St. George is 
dated "Paris, iQth August, 1815," that as Knight of the Order of 
Maria Theresa, " Paris, 2nd August, 1815." The statutes of the latter 
order (whose centenary on i8th June, 1857, Colborne, then Lord 
Seaton, attended at Vienna) are interesting: "All officers of all 
ranks may be admitted into this order for bravery in action only. It 
is an order of valour, and neither birth, rank, meritorious or long 
service, or even wounds are of themselves sufficient qualification. 
The candidate must describe the action, and prove his part in it, 
when the Chapter may recommend the Sovereign to appoint him to 
any class of the order which he may deserve : an ensign might by 
bravery become at once a Grand Cross of the Order*' 

242 IN PARIS. [Cn. XVI. 

" When I went to thank Sir George Murray for the 
orders the latter said, ' Well, I am glad you are 
pleased, for Colonel Lygon has just been here to 
return the Cross of the Second Class of the Order of 
St. Vladimir, as he says it would be degrading to the 
commanding officer of the Life Guards to wear 
what every officer of the Russian army is entitled 
to after two years/ When the Duke heard of this, 
all he said was, ' Won't Colonel Lygon accept it ? 
Well then, give it to Colonel Somebody-else, who 
will.' " 

Adam's Brigade remained in the Champs Elysees 
till the 2nd November. 

Lord Seaton said : " I had the superintendence 
of the British camp, which extended from the Place 
de la Concorde to the Tuileries, immediately under 
the Duke of Wellington's quarters. I took the 
greatest pains to have it kept neat and clean, and 
succeeded so well that the Duke once took some 
officers to look at it, and leaning over the wall that 
divided it off from his house, said, ' This is the 
sweetest camp I have ever known, and I have 
known a good many/ 

"At Paris I used sometimes to have 30 men or 
so marched out early in the day for about 10 miles 
as a punishment, but I do not think now that it is a 
good thing to do." 

Mr. Leeke writes : " Sir John Colborne took the 
52nd several times to the Champ-de-Mars which, 
was a very extensive and good exercising ground. 
There we first practised the half-face movement in 
column, which I think was taken up from the Prus- 
sians, and was afterwards found to be a most useful 

1815.] JUSTICE AND MERCY. 243 

movement. One day we came across the Emperor 
of Russia and his staff in the Champ-de-Mars, and 
Sir John very neatly threw the regiment into close 
column just as the Emperor was arriving in front 
of the flank company and saluted him with covered 
arms. As the Emperor was merely riding across 
the Champ-de-Mars, and as we were only there for 
drill, the salute with carried arms in close column 
was the only available method of showing him any 

Mr. Leeke also tells a story of a 52nd soldier being 
condemned to be shot for insubordination towards 
an officer of another regiment : " I saw an interview 
between the Duke and Sir John Colborne, which 
I had reason to believe was connected with this 
man's execution. The Duke had come into our 
camp from his garden door, and as Colborne almost 
immediately joined him I fancy the interview had 
been arranged before. The Duke, who generally 
appeared to be a person of a very quiet demeanour, 
seemed on this occasion to speak with some con- 
siderable earnestness, and Colborne, who was most 
anxious, as we all were, that the man's life should be 
spared, was equally energetic. The conversation 
did not last more than seven or eight minutes, and I 
did not learn the result until the order for the 
execution appeared in orders." Next day, when all 
was ready for the execution, " an aide-de-camp, the 
bearer of a reprieve, rode into the square. I think 
it was an order from the Duke granting the man a 
pardon, and stating that it was partly in consideration 
of the high character of the regiment to which he 

244 IN PARIS. [Cn. XVI. 

belonged that the Duke was induced to take this 

The following stories told by Lord Seaton relate 
to this time : 

" Hardinge was attached to Blucher on the march 
to Paris, and has frequently told me that Blucher 
used to say every night, 'Well, I shall be sure to 
get Bonaparte somewhere when we get to Paris ; if 
so, I shall take him directly to Vincennes and shoot 
him in the very place he shot d'Enghien.' 

" Blucher gave Hardinge Louis XVI 1 1 /s own 
copy of the Memoirs of Madame de la Roche- 
jacquelein, which Napoleon had taken with him to 
read on the campaign, and which had been found 
in his carriage. 

" Once at dinner at Paris the Duke was giving a 
description of the battle of Waterloo, when Sir F. 
Adam asked him across the table, * Pray, what would 
your Grace have done if the French Guards had not 
been dispersed ? ' ' Oh,' said the Duke, ' I should 
have retired to the Bois de Soignies and given battle 
again the next morning/ * But if you could not 
have done that ? ' said Adam, pressing him. ' It 
never could have been so bad as that, you know,' 
said the Duke hastily, and got up and called 
for coffee, rather ruffled, I think, at the question 
being put. 

" When the Venetian horses were taken down 
from the Arc du Carrousel I dressed in plain clothes 
and went into the Place du Carrousel to hear what 
the people said. They did not seem to mind it at 
all. They said, ' Ma foi, Us ont beaucoup voyage' 

* Leeke, I., pp. 162, 170. 

i3i5-] BLUCHER AND NEY. 245 

and that sort of thing, but not as if they were angry ; 
and when the Griffin was taken, they said they were 
glad to say good-bye to that * grande tete laide' 
Six or seven thousand of our soldiers were parading 
about as there had been some fear of a disturbance, 
but it all passed off very quietly. It was the 
Austrians who were taking the things away, but as 
we were the only troops then in Paris we got all the 
odium, though we were the only people who were 
to gain nothing. 

" I remember hearing a Frenchman say that he 
had been to the Louvre every day of the year when 
all the pictures and statuary were there, just to look 
at two or three at a time. 

" It was said that the Duke wished to intercede 
for Ney with Louis XVIII., but the King guessed 
his intention and talked to him the whole evening 
so as to leave him no opportunity. A Royalist 
said to me, ' If Ney is not executed it will 
be impossible for us to remain in Paris.' The 
following story is told of Ney's treason in 
1814. It had been announced that Ney would 
inspect his troops one morning. When he 
rode to where they were drawn up, he raised his 
hat and cried, ' Vive VEmpereur! ' His aide-de- 
camp said, ' You mistake. You mean " Vive le 
Roi" ' * No mistake, Sir,' he replied, * Vive 
VEmpereur! ' 

" On one occasion the Duke de Chartres had 
been fired at, the ball passing through his carriage, 
and the assailant was condemned to die. The 
Duke, when pressed to save the man's life, said to 
me, ' I will never intercede for an assassin.' 

246 IN PARIS. [Cn. XVL 

" It seems only a short time since old Lowe came 
proudly into my tent at Paris and showing me 
the letter which gave him the offer of going to St. 
Helena. He said then that he was quite deter- 
mined not to accept it, but they afterwards made 
it ,1,200 a year, and he thought it was too good 
a thing for a poor man to refuse. 

" Sir Hudson Lowe always hesitated in his replies, 
a thing the Duke of Wellington could not endure. 
On one occasion the Duke said, ' Where does that 
road lead to, Sir Hudson?' Sir Hudson began 
drawing his plans from his pocket before answering. 
The Duke, putting his hand to his mouth, turned 
round to an officer with him, saying, ' D d old fool ! ' 

Another officer, General , knew the Duke's 

ways so well that, whether he was sure of a thing or 
not, he always answered directly. For instance, if 
the Duke asked, ' How many rounds of ammunition 
have we? ' he answered immediately, ' Four hundred 
and twenty.' On a friend remonstrating, * How 
could you say that, when you could not possibly 
know?' he would answer, 'Oh, I knew it must be 
thereabouts, and if I am wrong I can tell him 
afterwards.' ' 

On 2nd November the brigade, now once more 
commanded by Sir F. Adam, moved from Paris to 
Versailles, and in the middle of December to St. 
Germain. Sir John Colborne now obtained a long 
leave of absence. 

Rejoining his wife at Yealmpton on 4th January, 
1816, he saw for the first time his child James 
(afterwards second Lord Seaton), who had been 
born on the 8th September preceding. 

i8i5-8.] A LONG LEAVE. 247 

Accompanied by Lady Colborne, her brother 
James, and the baby, Sir John left England on 23rd 
June for a long tour on the Continent. 

After visiting the chief towns of Holland they 
passed into Germany, reaching Dresden on 27th 
July, where they stayed a month, during which all 
except the baby took lessons in German. At the 
close, as Mr. James Yonge writes, " Colonel 
Colborne paid the master double his demand (36 
dollars), which affected him almost to the shedding 
of tears." From the 4th to the 9th September they 
were at Berlin, whence they proceeded through 
Dresden and Saxon Switzerland to Vienna, whence 
Mr. James Yonge returned to England. 

Sir John and Lady Colborne, after staying three 
months at Baden, entered Italy early in February, 
and proceeded by Venice to Rome, where they 
stayed from the 26th till the loth March, 1817. On 
the 1 4th they arrived at Florence, where, on the 
22nd April, their second son, Francis, was born. 
They left Florence on 23rd June and proceeded 
through the Tyrol into Switzerland, passing the 
summer at Zurich, from which centre Sir John made 
a two months' tour alone. Leaving Zurich on i8th 
October they made their way to Mannheim (8th 
November) and stayed there till the loth March, 
1818, when they moved towards France. Spending 
the first fortnight of April in Paris, Sir John dined 
with the Duke of Wellington, General Murray and 
Sir Andrew Barnard. The party landed at Dover 
on 1 7th April and reached Yealmpton on the 26th. 
On the 1 8th May Sir John Colborne left his wife, 
then about to give birth to a daughter, in order to 


rejoin his regiment in France. It was the last year 
of the occupation, and Colonel Colborne resumed 
the command of the 52nd at St. Omer. 

Leeke tells that Sir John's establishment of 
horses being incomplete, he bought a horse of 
Leeke, which, the first day he appeared on parade, 
bolted and carried him to his quarters a mile and a 
half away, Sir John having an imperfect command 
of a horse owing to the results of the wound in his 
right shoulder received at Ciudad Rodrigo. 

In the middle of August the 52nd marched to 
Valenciennes. On the 23rd October the army was 
reviewed by the Emperor of Russia, the King of 
Prussia, &c., and a month later was withdrawn from 
France. Mr. Leeke quotes from Colonel Hall an 
account of the surrender of Valenciennes (22nd 
November ?) to its natural possessors : " The autho- 
rities wished to embody some of the National Guards 
to receive over the place, but Colborne would allow 
no Frenchman in arms until we had quitted it. The 
regiment marched out and halted on the glacis, 
leaving the main guard in the Grande Place. When 
the citadel had been given over to the civil authorities 
the town was also formally surrendered." 

The 52nd Regiment embarked at Calais on the 
28th November and landed at Ramsgate next day. 

The headquarters of the regiment was now 
Chester, till in the summer of 1819 it was moved to 
iWeedon, the military authorities being greatly 
exercised about the disturbed state of the manu- 
facturing districts. In the spring of 1820 the 
regiment moved to Lichfield and in the summer to 
Hull. Lady Colborne remained in the south, first 


at Yealmpton, and from the ;th October, 1819, at 
Livermead House, Torquay, her husband paying 
her various visits of several months together. On 
Christmas Day, 1819, a third son was born to him. 

In July, 1821, Sir John and Lady Colborne went 
to London for the coronation of King George IV., 
in which Sir John had a place as King's aide-de- 
camp. During this visit he received the post of 
Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey, for which he had 
expressed a desire. 

Sir John and Lady Colborne arrived in Guernsey 
on ist September and took possession of their new 
home, Government House. Soon after Sir John's 
appointment an inhabitant of the island, Mr. George 
Le Boutillier, framed a project for the reform of the 
ancient grammar school called Elizabeth College, 
which was then in a state of decay. He submitted 
his scheme to the Lieutenant-Governor, and as he 
himself writes, " the matter could not have been 
placed in better hands." In October Sir John 
Colborne took the matter up vigorously, and effected 
a considerable improvement in the state of the 
school. But, being still dissatisfied, in December, 
1823 he resolved to institute an inquiry. A com- 
mission was appointed, whose report was in the main 
accepted by the States, and on the nth October, 
1824, the school was reopened with a new head- 
master, when Sir John Colborne's two sons, James 
and Francis, were entered first and second on the 
roll, in recognition of the disinterested activity he 
had shown. 

On the 6th January, 1825, a plan for the regulation 
of Elizabeth College was transmitted to the States 


by the Bailiff with the following introductory 
words : 

'' The benefit . . . which I anticipate must 
be attributed solely to Sir John Colborne. It is in 
this benefit itself that he can -find the only recom- 
pense, the only praise worthy of him. In all that is 
proposed, nothing but entire disinterestedness is to 
be perceived. There is nothing for himself, but 
everything for the country which he governs ; he is 
a father who, not knowing the time he may remain 
among his children, prepares for them the noblest 
inheritance it is possible for him to leave them."* 

The States accordingly determined to erect new 
buildings for the school, perhaps on a too palatial 
scale. The foundation stone was laid by Sir John 
Colborne on iQth October, 1826. The college was 
finished and opened in 1829, among its scholarships 
being one of 20, tenable for four years, given by 
Sir John in perpetuity for the best classical scholar. 
But ere this Sir John and Lady Colborne had left 
the island, taking with them the respect and esteem 
of the whole community. 

On the 25th May, 1825, Sir John Colborne had 
attained to the rank of major-general, and terminated 
his connexion with the 52nd, whom he had so often 
led to victory. 

Other events of more domestic interest had 
occurred to him during his stay. Two sons and three 
daughters (one destined only to live a year) had been 
born to him in Guernsey, and his all but sister, Miss 
Fanny Bargus, had been married, on 25th October, 
1822, in England, to an old officer of the 52nd, 

* Jacob, Annals of Guernsey, p. 363. 

1825-7.] COLBORNE AND W. NAPIER. 251 

Captain William Crawley Yonge, brother of his own 
brother-in-law, the Reverend Duke Yonge, a 
marriage which was to give birth to the well-known 
writer, Miss Charlotte M. Yonge. 

Sir John had been greatly consulted during these 
years by his old friend Colonel William Napier, then 
embarking on his History of the Peninsular War. 
Colborne, like Napier, revered the memory of Sir 
John Moore as a man and was indignant at the 
attacks made on his military reputation, and he was 
ready to assist Napier to the utmost in vindicating 
the general's character. But the tone of Napier's 
letters to Colborne^ shows that the historian regarded 
Colborne not only as a loyal friend of Sir John 
Moore, but as a man of consummate military judg- 
ment. And there is other evidence to show that, if 
a great war had broken out within thirty years of 
Waterloo, Colborne would have been looked to by 
soldiers as predestinated for a very high, if not the 
supreme, command. The country enjoyed peace, 
but one part of the price it paid for it was that it 
never became fully aware of the genius and noble 
character of John Colborne. 

In 1827 he had narrowly missed obtaining an 
appointment of great importance. He says : 

" During Canning's Ministry there was a scheme 
to make different arrangements at the War Office. 
The office of Commander-in-Chief was to be 
abolished, Lord Palmerston was to be Minister 
for War, and I was offered the post of Military 
Secretary to the Minister, as a position equal to that 
of Commander-in-Chief in all but the name. I 

* See English Historical Review, July, 1903. 


doubted at first about accepting it, but Sir James 
Kempt, whom I consulted, said, ' If you refuse this 
you will deserve never to have any good fortune 
again.' I wrote to accept it, but within two days 
Canning died [8th August, 1827], and the whole 
plan was changed, and with it, probably, my whole 

The following letter from William Moore shows 
that another friend besides Sir James Kempt had 
urged Colborne to accept the position : 

"123, Mount-street, 

"2Qth July, 182;. 

" In a conversation I had with Sir H. Torrens yester- 
day, he mentioned incidentally that you had been offered 
the situation of D[eputy?] -Secretary-at-War, which you 
had half declined He seemed to regret this very much, 
and said, ' There is no man in the army so fit for it, or 
who would fill it better. It is madness in a man with a 
rising family to refuse it, and I trust we shall see him yet 
succeed Taylor.' I trust you will not be offended at my 
reporting this conversation, which was, as you see, familiar, 
in order that you may be fully satisfied that, however 
diffident you may be to succeed Sir Herbert, others 
entertain great confidence in you. I mentioned this to 
Anderson ... he is strongly of opinion that you ought to 
take what is offered Prenez tou jours is the maxim of 
modern times. 

" I am anxious to see the next Edinburgh Review, my 
uncle having communicated to me in confidence your 

* It would seem from the following extract of a letter of Sir William 
Napier's that it was expected that Lord Goderich, Canning's successor 
as Premier, would appoint Colborne Military Secretary: " Lord 
Goderich is to be Premier. If the Duke does not come in, Colborne 
is to succeed Sir Herbert Taylor : this is excellent." Life of Sir W. 
Napier, I., p. 370. 

\ The article, of which part was given above (pp. 100-108), seems 
not to have been published. Other extracts will be found, p. 396. 


intention to vindicate the General.f I hurled away 
Southey's rascally book in indignation. I am very 
desirous to see Napier's book. Yours most sincerely, 


The cause of Colborne's leaving Guernsey was a 
different one. On the I7th July, 1828, when on a 
visit to England he was offered the Governorship of 
Trinidad. He proceeded to London, and having 
declined Trinidad, accepted the Lieutenant- 
Governorship of Upper Canada. 

The respect and affection which he and Lady 
Colborne* had acquired during their residence in 
Guernsey were marked by a presentation of plate 
made to him by the inhabitants of the island. 

* Described by Miss C. M. Yonge as "the brightest, most playful 
and lively of creatures." Miss Coleridge's Charlotte M, Yonge, p. 20. 


UPPER CANADA, 1828-1836. 

ON the I4th August, 1828, Sir John Colborne was 
gazetted Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, in 
succession to Sir Peregrine Maitland. He reached 
York (now Toronto), his seat of government, on 3rd 
November, and assumed next day the office which 
he was to hold till January, 1836, under six Colonial 

The government of Upper Canada at the time 
of Sir John Colborne's arrival was causing great 
dissatisfaction, the popular Assembly being only 
able to legislate with the assent of a legislative 
council whose constitution was exclusive, and the 
executive being in no way responsible to the elected 
representatives of the people. Immediately before 
this date an opposition journalist named Collins had 
been heavily punished for a libel on the Attorney- 
General, and a judge who had made himself, 
legitimately or otherwise, a popular hero, had been 
removed from office. A new Assembly, ardent for 
reforms, had just been elected. 

Colborne's first task was to deal with a petition 
pressing for Collins' release. He claimed time for 
consideration, and after three weeks replied by a 
refusal. The reply was unpopular, but Kingsford 

1 828.] POLITICAL STRIFE. 255 

excuses it on the ground that, as a newcomer to the 
colony, Colborne was acting on the advice of his 

On the 8th January the new parliament met, and 
soon afterwards it also addressed Colborne in favour 
of the remission of the sentence. The spirit of the 
soldier breathed in his answer. With all courtesy 
he regretted that the House should have made an 
application with which his obligation to support the 
laws forbade him to comply. For this repeated 
refusal, though supported by the opinion of the 
judge who had tried the case, Colborne was burnt 
in effigy at Hamilton. The House now voted an 
address to the King, praying for the royal clemency 
on behalf of Collins. The prayer was granted. 
Kingsford suggests that it had Colborne's support, 
and points out that the rest of Colborne's administra- 
tion was marked by an absence of prosecutions for 

The new parliament went, however, beyond the 
redressing of private wrongs. By 37 votes to i it 
claimed to be recognised as the responsible adviser 
of the Crown, and protested against the then 
advisers of the Lieutenant-Governor. A month 
later, in reply to a letter of Sir George Murray, the 
Colonial Secretary, Colborne himself showed his dis- 
approval of the existing state of things in which the 
legislative council was the echo of the executive 
members. He did not, however, venture to advo- 
cate the view of the House, the view taken by Lord 
Durham afterwards in that famous report which has 
been the eirenicon of modern Canada, that the 
executive should hold office by the will of the 


popular Assembly. It does not diminish Colborne's 
other notable qualities if it cannot be claimed for 
him that he was a bold political innovator. When 
the Assembly, on its meeting again in January, 1830, 
reiterated its demands, Colborne was content to 
reply, " Gentlemen of the House of Assembly, I 
return you my thanks for your address." 

On the 3Oth June, 1829, Sir John and Lady 
Colborne lost by death their little son John 
Saumarez, born in Guernsey three years before. 
The loss was the more afflicting as it occurred when 
Sir John was away from home. He was a most 
tender father, but, as his friends knew, he was 
possessed of a rare Christian fortitude and would 
never allow the most poignant private sorrow to 
interfere with his performance of public duty. It 
is striking to note the almost identical terms in which 
two of the closest of them, Sir Graham Moore, Sir 
John's brother, and Sir George Napier, Colborne's 
comrade in the 52nd, expressed themselves on this 
point in their letters of condolence. The former 
wrote, on ist February, 1830: * You have more 
internal resource than any man I know to submit 
with resignation to the will of Providence, but I am 
aware of what you must have suffered " ; Sir George 
Napier, on i7th June, 1830: " My heart bleeds for 
you, my dear friend. Was it not that I know your 
mind to be the strongest man ever possessed, I 
should dread the effects of this blow, coming on you 
in the sudden, terrible manner it did." Before these 
letters were received another son had been born 
(i4th February, 1830) to take the place of the child 
that had gone. 

1829-30.] UPPER CANADA COLLEGE. 257 

The death of George IV. on 26th June, 1830, led 
to the election of a new parliament less hostile 
to the established state of things. The change 
of feeling in the electorate was possibly due to Sir 
John Colborne's having evinced a more liberal spirit 
than his predecessor, Sir Peregrine Maitland. 

Even where he had differed from the previous 
Assembly, he had shown moderation and treated its 
views with respect. He had again, as in Guernsey, 
shown his zeal for education. Within a few months 
of his arrival he had founded Upper Canada College, 
which had been opened in January, 1830, with a 
select staff of masters. His special object in 
founding the college is set forth by Bishop Bethune : 

" On the subject of the university [King's 
College] he did not dissent from the justice and 
expediency of appropriating the endowment by 
which it was to be maintained ; nor did he appear 
to desire that the charter should be more open than 
it was." [The professors were required to sign the 
39 Articles, the Bishop was to be visitor and the 
Archdeacon of York (Toronto) ex-officio president. 
These provisions were largely disliked in the colony, 
and were afterwards modified.] " But he differed 
from many as to the expediency of pressing the 
immediate establishment of the highest seat of 
learning; when, as he contended, the means pro- 
vided for an essential preliminary education were so 
very unsatisfactory. None of our grammar schools 
at the time enjoyed a very high reputation ; and he 
considered that steps should at once be adopted for 
elevating the standard of education, and so ensuring 
qualified pupils for the curriculum of a university. 



This led to the establishment of Upper Canada 
College; at first, more pointedly to designate its 
object, called Minor College; and this institution 
he got into operation in a marvellously short period 
after its first inception. In one year, indeed, after 
his arrival in Canada all the arrangements for its 
practical working were made and the staff of masters 
on the spot."* 

The new Assembly being of a different character 
to the old one, Colborne had no opening for pressing 
the question of responsible government, even if he 
was himself convinced of its desirability. The 
minority in the House, under the lead of Mr. 
Mackenzie, still eagerly urged it. In retaliation, the 
majority declared Mr. Mackenzie, who was a 
journalist, to be guilty of libel, and on i2th 
December expelled him from the House. This 
act, however violent, was one, as Kingsford argues, 
with which it was impossible for Sir John Colborne 
to interfere. It created, however, a great sense of 
the danger which awaited political opposition to the 
executive. Nine hundred and thirty petitions in the 
course of the proceedings begged the Lieutenant- 
Governor to appeal to the constituencies. He 
replied with characteristic reserve : " Gentlemen, I 
have received the petition of the inhabitants." 
Mackenzie was re-elected for his constituency, York, 
and again expelled on a new charge of libel. He 
was elected a third time, but the House had already 
adjourned, after voting an address to the Governor 
for its own dissolution. A violent party campaign 

* Memoir of Bishop Strachan (1870), p. 131. 

1830-3.] W. L. MACKENZIE. 259 

was entered upon by both sides, after which Mr. 
Mackenzie sailed for England to gain the support 
of the home authorities. He stayed there a year 
and a half, being once more elected for York in his 
absence. In England he was allowed to present a 
memoir to the Colonial Secretary, Lord Goderich, 
who, in consequence of the facts brought before him, 
wrote a despatch to Sir John Colborne. This was 
not received till after the new session had opened on 
3ist October, 1832, when Mackenzie was once more 
expelled and once more re-elected. But the Home 
Government had recognized the justice of some of 
the grievances which Mackenzie had urged. It 
condemned the conduct of the Attorney-General and 
Solicitor-General in supporting the expulsions, and 
by a despatch of 6th March, 1833, dismissed both 
from office. The Solicitor-General was, however, 
soon afterwards reinstated by a new Colonial 
Secretary, Mr. Stanley. 

On Mackenzie's return to Canada he endeavoured 
to take his seat in the Assembly at the opening of 
its fourth session on igth October, 1833. He was 
not allowed to do sOj a new writ was issued and he 
was elected once more, Mackenzie's electors 
unanimously passing a resolution calling for an 
inquiry into the conduct of Sir John Colborne for 
having interfered with their constitutional rights. 
However, the House expelled him for the fourth 
time. In reply to the representations of Mackenzie's 
friends, the Lieutenant-Governor declared that the 
decisions of the House of Assembly had not been 
influenced by the executive, and he suggested that 
Mr.. Mackenzie should offer some reparation. He 

K 2 


allowed him to take the oath to himself, after which 
Mackenzie took his seat in the House. In a debate 
which ensued Colborne's conduct was violently 
assailed by the anti-reform paper, the strongest 
testimony to his rectitude and impartiality. 

On the prorogation of the House on 6th March, 
1834, the town of York ceased to be, being incor- 
porated as the city of Toronto. Mr. Mackenzie 
became the first mayor. But, having resolved to 
follow the lead of Papineau in Lower Canada, and 
having published in his paper a letter from Mr. 
Hume, which spoke of Canada's shortly obtaining 
"independence and freedom from the baneful 
domination of the Mother Country," he was defeated 
at the next municipal election. 

Early in 1835 Sir John heard of his appointment 
to the colonelcy of the 94th Regiment. He now 
again showed his interest in education by proposing 
the establishment of a medical college. This 
proposal, however, was not adopted. 

His attachment to the Church of England no 
doubt made the last act of his administration a 
pleasant one the assigning of reserve lands for the 
endowment of forty-four rectories. He did this 
with the sanction of his legislative council and in 
compliance with an injunction of the Colonial 
Secretary of 1832, but it was the cause of a long 
controversy, being in contradiction of a vote passed 
in the Assembly that the reserve lands should be 
withdrawn from ecclesiastical objects and appro- 
priated to " purposes of ordinary education and 
general improvement." Colborne's position is thus 
put by Bishop Bethune : 


" His favourite idea in regard to the establishment 
of the Church was to mark out parishes where there 
was a sufficient population and appropriate to each 
a suitable endowment in land, assigning to their 
respective incumbents besides a small stipend in 
money, derived from the general proceeds of the 
reserves. In regard to the residue of this property, 
he was disposed for any compromise that could 
bring peace to the public mind, without too great a 
sacrifice of what might be deemed vested interests."* 

In the session of 1835 Mr. Mackenzie had moved 
for a select commission on grievances, the result of 
which was a report advocating the establishment of 
an executive government responsible to public 
opinion. The report, though it only received the 
sanction of the House on 6th February, 1836, had 
previously made a considerable impression in 
England, and Lord Glenelg, Colonial Secretary, 
determined to replace Sir John Colborne by a new 
lieutenant-governor authorized to introduce some 
modifications into the established system. Some 
weeks, however, before Colborne received his 
despatch of recall he had himself resigned his office 
owing to his irritation at the strictures passed on 
him in a series of despatches by Lord Glenelg. 
Colborne's letter of resignation contains his defence. 

"2nd December, 1835. 

" In my despatch of the i6th September I adverted to 
the state of excitement in which I found the Province in 
1828. The subsequent favourable change which took 
place I attribute chiefly to the course I pursued, to my 

* Memoir of Bishop Strachan, p. 131. 


unceasing exertion in the essential duties of a governor 
and zeal in promoting the important interests of the 
colony. I may mention the establishment of a seminary, 
which annually confers on the Province the greatest 
benefits, from the liberal and extensive education which it 
affords to the sons of the colonists the improvement of 
roads and commercial communications in every district, 
the distributing emigrants in sections of the Province 
where their influence has already effected a salutary 
change, the construction of buildings in which the public 
offices are concentrated and the business of the Province 
conveniently transacted, instead of their being held in 
the private residences of heads of departments ; the 
arrangements which have been so favourably received to 
secure to the ministers of the six principal religious per- 
suasions the means of extending religious instruction, and 
the establishing of schools under the Superintendent of 
the Indians for the civilization of all the tribes in Upper 
Canada. In the accomplishing of several of these under- 
takings, I may observe that I incurred a considerable 
pecuniary risk. These acts, together with my daily 
intercourse with persons desirous of an audience and the 
enlarging the commissions of the peace without respect 
to the politics of individuals, convinced the inhabitants 
of the Province that I took a great interest in the pros- 
perity of the Colony, and produced the most advantageous 
results. A mischievous and factious Assembly lost the 
confidence of their constituents, and at the new election 
a well-composed House was returned, by whose zealous 
co-operation the prosperity of the country has been 
rapidly advanced, and the Civil List was permanently 
settled ; in proposing which measure, Lord Ripon notified 
to me that if the Civil List could be satisfactorily arranged 
' it would be deemed by his Majesty one of the happiest 
events of his reign/ and when it passed the Legislature 
my exertions were acknowledged and my conduct in this 
perplexing affair entirely approved of by the King. The 
encouragement I have shown to all classes of emigrants, 


and my daily occupation in their interests, I am convinced, 
increased the flow of emigration to the Province." 

Sir John replied to the charge that he had been 
remiss in his correspondence with the Colonial 
Office, remarking among other things : 

"Since the 1st January, 75 despatches have been 
written by me, 1,332 letters have been prepared from my 
notes, and 3,295 petitions have been disposed of by me, 
many of which passed under my notice several times." 

Delays had often been due to the conduct of 
officers whose services were not altogether at his 
disposal the officers who had generally been the 
cause of the delay had been appointed from home, 
" I think, without sufficiently reflecting on the 
difficulties which must arise from their inexperience." 

He concludes : 

" Judging f your views from the whole tenor of this 
despatch, I can arrive only at the conclusion that you are 
desirous that I should relinquish the government of this 
Province. Had this been distinctly intimated to me, I 
assure your lordship that you would have found me quite 
ready to resign a laborious post without reluctance, which 
I have consented to retain under the persuasion that my 
exertions were useful to the Province and advantageous to 
his Majesty's Government. 

" I have now, however, but to request that you will sub- 
mit to the King my wish to retire from this colony, and to 
explain to his Majesty that I have been compelled, at this 
most important crisis of the affairs of Canada, to adopt 
this course solely and exclusively on account of your des- 
patch and of the unmerited treatment which I consider I 
have received from your lordship. In closing this com- 
munication, I deem it a fit occasion to record my opinion 
that at no period has there been in the Province a Party 
attached to the Mother Country so powerful as at the 
present moment, a Party that is increasing, and cannot fail 


to continue to increase, by attending to their interests. 
If a different feeling should take place among this class, 
and a serious crisis be not far distant in the Lower Pro- 
vince, the inclination to separate will be first observed in 
the conduct of the friends of the Monarchy, and the disas- 
ter traced to neglect, timid counsels, and the fatal error 
into which many persons have fallen, of supposing that 
this Province must eventually become a portion of the 
United States." 

Sir Francis Head, Colborne's successor, arrived 
unexpectedly in Canada in January, and Sir John 
Colborne and his family were called upon to leave 
their home at the shortest possible notice in the 
height of a Canadian winter. This indignity called 
forth the sympathy of all classes, and addresses of 
regret at the recall poured in from all parts of Upper 
Canada and all classes of the population. The 
following is only one of several presented by the 
different Indian tribes of the Province : 

" To Major-General Sir John Colborne, K.C.B. 

" Our Father, We, the Chippewa and Potagunasee 
Indians settled at Coldwater and the narrows of Lake 
Simcoe, have heard with great sorrow that you are going 
to quit this country and return to the country of our Great 
Father across the Great Lake. 

" We shall never forget that under your care we have 
been brought to a greater knowledge of the Christian 
religion, and we shall always remember, in our prayers 
to the Great Spirit, to ask for His blessing on you, 

" Not satisfied with giving us this great good, you have 
also given us land to cultivate, on which you have built us 
mills. You have given us houses to shelter us, and have 
provided us with oxen and cows and all things necessary 
for cultivating our farms, so that, instead of being in the 
poor, and often starving, condition in which you found us, 
we are now well clothed and have abundance of food. 


" You have also built schools, and sent us masters to 
teach our children to read and write. 

" Although we have sometimes neglected these good 
things, and have not been so attentive to your wishes as 
we now feel that we ought to have been, we know that you 
have always overlooked this neglect as a father would 
that of a child, and we have at length become convinced 
of doing all things that you have told us. 

" And now that you are leaving us and are going to see 
our Great Father, the King, we ask of you to speak kindly 
of us to him. Say that we are thankful for being placed 
under his care, that we hope that we and our children for 
ever may remain dutiful and obedient to him, our Great 
English Father, and that we promise to do all things that 
he may wish. 

" We would ask him to continue to us the kindness he 
has always shown towards his Red Children, and we ask, 
in the name of our brethren further west and north of us, 
who are now destitute of the good things you have given 
us, and are more miserable than we even were, that our 
Great Father would extend his strong arm and provide 
them, as he has done us, with the means of becoming like 
his White Children, that they may worship the same God, 
learn the same language, and have the same means of 
obtaining food that is known to our Great Father and his 
White Children. 

" We shake you firmly by the hand. We pray that your 
voyage across the Great Salt Lake may be a prosperous 
one, and that you and your family may always live happy. 


" Coldwater, 

"3rd February, 1836." 

(A mark 

of an 


to each 


Kingsford thus sums up the history of Colborne's 
administration of Upper Canada: 

" Colborne left behind him no memories of 
prosecution for libel or of the slightest instance of 
individual wrong. His duty was to administer the 
government according to his instructions. For the 
greater part of the time he laboured under the 
disadvantage of having his principal law officer in 
Mr. Boulton. ... On the opposition side, 
Mackenzie's unceasing agitation and his restless- 
ness gave a direction to legislative life which led 
only to disquiet and confusion. . . . 

:< When Sir John Colborne left Toronto [26th 
January, 1836] he received the highest marks of 
public esteem and respect. He was accompanied 
for a few miles by a vast concourse of people who 
vied with each other in testifying the sense they 
entertained of his amiable character and high moral 
worth. Upwards of 200 sleighs were present, 
headed by those of the mayor and corporation. 
Several parties were on horseback with a large con- 
course of persons on foot. They passed some 
distance beyond the turnpike when they drew up on 
each side of the road, leaving an open space for 
the Lieutenant-Governor to pass through. He 
advanced very slowly, and everyone uncovered as 
he passed between the lines. 

" Never before did we witness so much feeling 
with so little show," adds the record. " Both Sir 
John and Lady Colborne were visibly affected ; 
equally so the spectators, many of whom were moved 
to tears as they gazed for the last time on those they 
held in such respect and regard."* 

* Kingsford, X., pp. 338, 339. 


Mr. Walter Henry, who, though then surgeon to 
Sir John Colborne's old regiment, the 66th, first met 
him in Upper Canada in 1833, speaks of him in 
equally high terms : 

" His attention to public business, the devotion of 
his whole time and all his powers to the improvement 
of Upper Canada, his exertions in encouraging 
emigration and assisting and locating emigrants, were 
so conspicuous and unremitting that they could not 
be denied by his most virulent political enemies. 
His affability, hospitality and private virtues, and the 
wide-spreading charity of his excellent wife, though 
devoid of all ostentation, were necessarily well 
known in a small society like that of Toronto, and 
the estimation in which he was held in the Province 
was signally demonstrated by the universal tribute 
of respect paid to him all along the road when 
leaving his government. In fact, his journey, con- 
trary, I believe, to his own wish, had more the 
character of a triumphal procession than the quiet 
progress of a displaced governor. . . . When 
we first dined at Government House we were struck 
by the strong resemblance he bore to the Duke of 
Wellington, and there is also a great similarity in 
mind and disposition as well as the lineaments of the 
face. In one particular they appear to harmonize 
perfectly namely, great simplicity of character and 
an utter dislike of show and ostentation. I believe 
there never was a soldier of more perfect moral 
character than Sir John Colborne. He is truly sans 
peur et sans reproche"* 

* Events of a Military Life, II., pp. 214, 215. 


Some idea of the high moral and intellectual 
standard which Colborne ever set before himself and 
others may be gained from the following paper which 
he wrote in December, 1835 : 

" Memoranda for James, on leaving Toronto. 

" I must commence my memoranda by intreating you 
never to let a morning pass, nor a night, without prayer 
and reading some parts of the Old or New Testament 
Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the 
Lord. This, condensed well, has much in it, and will lead 
to the study of Christ and study of yourself, which is 
the wisest preparative for all that may happen to us. 

" Recollect, that as you have chosen your profession, 
you must endeavour to acquire a perfect knowledge of 
every part of it, beginning with the minute details. The 
first elements of the drill, company's drill, and the manoeu- 
vres as explained in the King's regulations ; and all the 
financial orders and the mode of conducting the interior 
ceconomy of a regiment are easily comprehended and 
learnt You should endeavour to make yourself also a 
good engineer and artillerist, and also fit for the Quarter- 
master- General's department All this you can readily 
accomplish (by proceeding gradually) with your know- 
ledge of mathematics. 

" Classics. 

" Having proceeded lately so far in Greek literature, 1 
should recommend your not relaxing in your efforts to 
obtain a critical knowledge of the Greek language. Go 
on with Herodotus, Demosthenes, and the plays of So- 
phocles, &c., and do not neglect the Latin historians and 
poets till you have studied them all patiently. Keep a 
journal of what you read. 

" Mathematics. 

"Pursue some regular course, and fix immediately on 
some science for your favourite one, which will bring into 
exercise what you have acquired. Drawing is an art 

1 835.] PATERNAL ADVICE. 269 

which you should also cultivate ; ' the universal neglect of 
which forms one of the most singular defects in scientific 
education.' It is indispensable in any branch of natural 
history, and in any practical science it is difficult to pro- 
ceed without it. Military drawing is absolutely necessary. 

" I should recommend you to improve your style by 
double translations. Study Murray's Grammar diligently, 
Blair s Lecture, James on Rhetoric. Get well acquainted 
with English history and with all war historians. Devote 
a certain time to the reading of periodicals, the best articles 
in the Quarterly Review, Edinburgh and Blackwood. 

" A knowledge of the French language is not only 
necessary for every gentleman, but an officer cannot even 
be sent to an outpost without it. 

" Keep your accounts regularly, and balance them every 
week or month. You must enter every item for which you 
incur expense. Never run in debt 

" You may draw on me for 80 per annum from the 
time you join your regiment, drawing it quarterly or half- 
yearly, as you may require it. Should you require more 
I shall be glad to assist you. 

" The Paymaster will inform you in what manner the 
officers generally draw their pay. 

" Write to us often, at least once a week." 

A sentence at the end of the letter receives an 
interesting illustration from the following letter 
addressed to Colborne by Sir George Napier, dated 
" Casa Galletti, Pisa, 2ist September, 1833": 

" I have told [my sons] I never will refuse their applica- 
tion when they make one for a little money, and as long 
as they make me their confidant in everything, and write 
at once to me whatever scrape they may get into, I shall 
do everything in my power to relieve them. I know you 
will approve of this, because I recollect how angry you 

were with a friend for protesting poor H 's bill, and 

you told me at the time, whenever I had sons, never to do 


such a thing, or I should run the risk of losing their affec- 
tions by being the cause of their disgrace in having a bill 
returned upon their hands, besides the very great chance 
of a high-spirited young man's feelings being so completely 
overset by it that he would become reckless of his con- 
duct, and plunge at once into dissipation and dishonour. 
I have never from that hour, my dear Colborne, forgot 
all you said, nor how extremely vexed and angry you were 
about the whole circumstances, and your letter to Mr. M., 
which you read to me. By it I have been guided in my 
conduct to my sons, and I trust ever shall be, for your 
opinion and advice will ever be a law to me upon such 
matters, looking upon you, as I do, with the strongest 
affection of a brother and the respect for your character 
of a son. Would to God it was my lot to be nearer to 
you, that I might enjoy the society of the dearest friend 
I have on earth ! " 

Sir John passed from Upper Canada to Montreal, 
where he arrived on ist February. At Montreal, as 
at every point on his route, he was welcomed with 
the warmest acclamations of the British population. 
He stayed there till the igth May, when he 
proceeded to New York in order to embark for 



SIR JOHN COLBORNE was on the point of sailing for 
England when he received a despatch from Lord 
Glenelg, dated I4th April, in reply to his of the 
2nd December. While maintaining his position 
that Sir John Colborne had been remiss in supplying 
him with information, Lord Glenelg disowned any 
desire to impeach his character: 

" It is satisfactory to me to recollect that I have not 
preferred any charge by which your character as a man of 
honour and integrity, or your uprightness in the fulfilment 
of your high trust, or even the habitual discretion with 
which it was discharged could in the least degree be im- 
pugned or brought into question." 

He concluded his despatch by offering Sir John 
Colborne the command of the forces in Upper and 
Lower Canada. He added : 

" There is no officer to whom his Majesty would commit 
that important service with more entire satisfaction. 
Whether you avail yourself or not of his Majesty's 
gracious intentions, it may perhaps be not displeasing to 
you to receive as it is to me very grateful to make this 
proposal. A copy of this letter will be transmitted to Sir 
F. Head, to be recorded among the archives of his Govern- 


ment, and it will there remain as a proof that his Majesty's 
confidence in your zeal for the public service, and in the 
wisdom and firmness with which you would act in any 
emergency, are unshaken and undiminished." 

Colborne frankly accepted the appointment offered 
him, though by no means eager to remain longer in 
Canada. In a letter to his sister, Mrs. Duke Yonge, 
dated " New York, 3oth May," he says : 

" You cannot imagine how much I am grieved and 
disappointed at my contemplated return to Canada. I 
had set my heart on seeing you all very soon, and on 
walking from Tor Point to Antony with my old legs as 
stout as in olden times. . . . Elizabeth is quite well, 
but as disappointed as I am at this countermarch we are 
about to make." 

Writing two days earlier to Sir H. Taylor, 
Colborne thus refers to what had passed : 

*'* Lord Glenelg has certainly entered fairly into my case, 
and I must confess, has said as much to put me in good 
humour in reference to our correspondence as a Minister 
of the Crown would acknowledge after the strong terms 
used in some of my despatches." 

But he animadverted on the discourteous manner 
in which he had been superseded: 

" If Lord Glenelg supposed that the hasty and indelicate 
manner in which my successor was to assume the govern- 
ment would gratify any respectable person in the colony, 
he was much deceived. The most furious Radicals con- 
demned the summary proceeding, and with reference to 
my acknowledged laborious life of seven years, called the 
Ministers a ' heartless set' I had scarcely received a 
letter from Lord Glenelg, stating that I was to be speedily 
relieved, when I heard that my successor, not only had 
been appointed, but that he was within forty miles of 


Toronto. It was generally known, I suppose, at home 
that I had a large family, and that a Canadian winter is 
not a pleasant season to move or to pass the Atlantic, and 
that almost every Governor would require a few weeks' 
notice to prepare for his departure, and that my sudden 
removal, with the thermometer 27 below zero, could not 
but have the worst effect in a political sense. I was much 
amused and gratified by hearing the conversation of one 
of the most violent of my political opponents when he 
saw an address to me on my departure placed in a public 
room for signatures. This gentleman said, on looking 
over the address, ' I'll sign with great pleasure, for 
although I am not one of his admirers, and have no reason 
to be satisfied with his conduct, I will declare that if this 
Province had been his own estate, Sir John Colborne could 
not have taken more care of it' 

" In passing over Lake Champlain and descending the 
Hudson last week I felt myself free from all kind of care, 
and delighted with everything I saw and anticipated on 
my route homewards, and with this notion, that I had 
shaken off a great weight, no schoolboy could have en- 
joyed himself more than I did on finding myself, for the 
first time in my life, liberated, and completely out of har- 
ness. I should at once have declined the appointment 
offered me, had I consulted my own inclinations. . . . 
But there are some circumstances which have determined 
me to accept the command which has been offered to me 
with apparent sincerity, and accompanied with many ex- 
pressions and terms which are honourable to Lord Glenelg. 
and undoubtedly ought to be gratifying to me. I have 
also, I am sure, to thank his Majesty chiefly for the 
arrangements which have been projected in my favour. 

" I may be useful at this important crisis, for Ministers 
must tack about, and many think that the Constitutional- 
ists will in several instances be guided by my advice. . . . 

" I received Sir F. Head, of course, in a way that 
gave him every reason to be satisfied, and furnished him 
with such an outline of the carte du 'pays as I judged 


would be of service to him in mounting his North 
American steed." 

After visiting Washington and other cities of the 
United States Colborne reached Montreal on 3Oth 
June, and next day assumed the command. 

As Kingsford writes : " Sir John Colborne was at 
that time 60 [really 58] years of age, in the height of 
his reputation. His presence gave confidence to 
the British population determined to sustain the 
constitution and to resist the violence of the partisans 
of the Assembly [of Lower Canada], daily increasing 
in virulence. It was equally welcome to those 
French-Canadians who disapproved the refusal by 
Mr. Papineau of all compromise, and driven to the 
choice of sustaining his pretensions or siding with 
the Government, declared themselves supporters of 
British connexion. It is no exaggeration to say 
that the moral influence of the presence of Sir John 
Colborne was equal to that of the arrival of 10,000 
disciplined troops, and it will be seen that his senti- 
ments of mercy and conciliation were fully equal to 
his courage and conduct in the field. . . . The 
epitaph of his career in Canada is written in the acts 
he performed."* 

Sir H. Taylor, in a letter from Windsor Castle of 
25th October, 1836, bearing the Royal sign manual, 
conveyed to Sir John Colborne by the King's 
command the insignia of the Grand Cross of the 
Guelphic Order. In a private letter of the same 
time he stated that the King " has uniformly 
supported you, and manifested his favourable 

* Kingsford, X., pp. 3, 4. 

1836.] THE G. C. H. 275 

opinions and approbation of your conduct." He 
added : 

" I have always agreed with you in condemning the 
sacrifice of those who are placed in high and responsible 
situations abroad, and who discharge their duty honestly, 
zealously and correctly, to popular clamour, prejudice and 
the encouragement which both receive from a certain party 
at home. . . . You stand in a proud situation, and I 
suspect that you do not regret a change which has relieved 
you from the necessity of engaging in endless controversy, 
and has again returned your duties to that of a profession 
which is happily free from the tracasseries which attach to 
civil employ. . . . Before your letter reached me I had 
received one from Sir Francis Head, in which he men- 
tioned, in terms of the warmest acknowledgment, the kind 
and liberal manner in which you received and acted towards 
him. I read your letter to the King, and I showed it to 
our friend, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, but it was not com- 
municated to any other person." 

Lady Colborne, in communicating the above to 
her brother, Mr. John Yonge, of Puslinch, spoke 
of the general pleasure with which Sir John's 
assumption of the command was received in Canada, 
and added: 

" The letters gratify him as much or more than the 
order itself. I cannot but deeply share his gratification, 
because I know the spirit in which these distinctions are 
received ; they do not puff up with worldly pride, but 
are received with humility and gratitude as honourable 
testimony of the King's approval of his having always 
strived to do his duty. . . . 

"... Sir John is so well, and never now takes the 
slightest cold, and I am sure for two years before he was 
always appearing to have one ; he was renewing it every 
week at least. He has gained very much in appearance. 
Indeed, he is as well as it is possible to be, except a little 


expectoration almost without cough, and a feeling of weak- 
ness in the chest if he talks much or is harassed at all in 

Colborne became Commander of the Forces at a 
critical period in the history of Canada. The 
constitutional strife which we have seen going on in 
Upper Canada had raged still more violently in the 
Lower Province, where three-quarters of the popu- 
lation were of French origin, and the conciliatory 
policy pursued by the Governor-General, Lord 
Gosford, had been utterly ineffectual. Since 
October, 1832, the Assembly had refused to vote 
any provision for the expenses of the administration, 
and by April, 1837, tne sum f ,142,160 145. 6d. 
was due. The reforming party, under the leader- 
ship of Mr. Papineau, a French-Canadian of 
extraordinary personal ascendency, clamoured for 
an elective legislative council, while the more hot- 
headed members, Papineau included, secretly desired 
a Canadian Republic in place of British con- 
nexion. The British House of Commons decided in 
April, 1837, that it was inexpedient to make the 
legislative council an elective and responsible body, 
although its constitution might be improved. It 
also passed the following " 8th Resolution " : " That 
for paying the arrears due for the charges for the 
administration and the civil service, the Governor- 
General be empowered to issue from the revenues 
in the hands of the Receiver-General the sums 
necessary for the payment of the before-mentioned 
sum of ,142,160 145. 6d." 

In consequence of the policy adopted by the 
House of Commons violent meetings were held in 


Canada to protest against the right of the Parliament 
of England to legislate for the internal affairs of 
the colony. These demonstrations were met by 
counter-demonstrations of the British minority, who 
saw in the proposal to make the legislative council 
elective the threatened extinction of their political 

Colborne expressed his views in the following 
letters to his brother-in-law, the Reverend John 
Yonge : 

" Quebec, 

"22nd May, 1837. 

" I have almost determined to return to England next 
summer if affairs in the Province will admit of my giving 
up my command consistently. Ministers have brought 
forward a most arbitrary measure under the plea of neces- 
sity, and thus strengthened the case of the Radical faction 
without diminishing their power of embarrassing the 
general and local government. ... I have no doubt 
that the Province will be in a perpetual state of excite- 
ment if the eighth resolution of Lord J. Russell's should 
be carried without other measures to aid the local govern- 

" I mean to sound my friends at home as to the pro- 
bability of my being able to obtain the government of 
the Ionian Islands. If I should be employed in another 
climate it will be much better for me to get to my new 
station next year than to remain in Canada till I am quite 
an old gentleman." 

Writing a few weeks later, " Quebec, 5th June," 
he says that he thinks embarrassments are 
becoming greater as the measures of government 
are developed : 

" The eighth resolution, of seizing money which does 
not belong to us, must produce further coercion on the 


part of Ministers. At least, if Papineau retains his 
influence, . . . Lower Canada will, in fact, have no 
legislature. I have received instructions to send for a 
reinforcement from Nova Scotia, should it be found neces- 
sary to place our grand army in position. This proves a 
little suspicion at home that resistance may be offered on 
the part of the oppressed. I, however, have not the least 
apprehension of that sort, but I think that the party will 
continue to agitate, and will be quite satisfied to keep the 
question of oppression, and the necessity of a change in 
the constitution, alive from session to session, for the 
benefit of Mr. Roebuck* and his men. We have our head- 
quarters here for a few weeks, and make a very pretty 
display with three regiments and the corps of artillery on 
the Plains of Abraham on our field days. I believe this 
exercise has done the regiments some good, and created a 
sufficient military excitement to prevent us all from living 
the lives of country gentlemen." 

" Quebec, 

"i 3 th July, 1837. 

" My dear Yonge, In case you should be alarmed at 
the newspaper reports of our proceedings in this Pro- 
vince during the progress of the Coercion Bill, I desired 
Elizabeth to state the actual position of affairs. You may 
remain quite assured that all the uproar will go off in the 
steam of the House of Assembly. Mr. Papineau has been 
lately, with some of his adherents, on a tour of agitation, 
more with a view of preparing the inhabitants for the next 
general election than with any expectation that the people 
would stir for him beyond giving their votes. In some 
counties the meetings were got up with banners and 
the resolutions agreed to were of a very seditious char- 
acter, but I am persuaded the whole proceedings are 
intended for Mr. Roebuck and Mr. Hume, and that they 
will produce little effect here. Lord Gosford has sent for 

* Mr. Roebuck was a paid agent of the reforming paper in Canada. 


a regiment from Halifax in great haste ; a measure which 
will cause unnecessary alarm, and probably give some 
advantage to the Radicals. We have quite enough force 
in the Province for any duty which the military will have 
to perform. At the general election there may be a dis- 
turbance at Montreal, where the parties are much excited, 
but beyond an election riot no act of resistance to the civil 
power need be apprehended. . . . 

" The Parliament of the Province is to meet next month. 
The resolutions are to be notified, and if the House of 
Assembly does not behave like good boys and vote the 
supplies, then the arbitrary Imperial Act is to go into 
operation. This timidity on the part of the Home Govern- 
ment is quite absurd, and will only give the House of 
Assembly another opportunity of abusing the Government 
and rejecting their offers. 

" Lord Gosford and myself are not likely to agree. We 
have already had some skirmishing. 

" \Ve go to Sorel on Monday next. Yours very 


The reform party now adopted the plan of refusing 
to buy British manufactures and even to resort to 
British judges, and in the session of August, 1837, 
persisted in their refusal of supplies. On the 26th 
August the Assembly of Lower Canada was 
dissolved. It never met again. 

Later in the autumn a republican association, 
called " Les fits de liberte" was founded, and issued 
a bold manifesto. 

Kingsford* quotes a letter written by Sir John 
Colborne on 6th October, at Sorel, whither he had 
moved from Quebec to be near the scene of any 
active movement. After describing the disloyal 

*X.,p. 3 i. 


scenes which were being enacted on all sides, it 
concludes : 

" The game which Mr. Papineau is playing cannot be 
mistaken, and we must be prepared to expect that if 400 
or 500 persons be allowed to parade the streets of Mon- 
treal at night, singing revolutionary songs, the excited 
parties will come into collision." 

Nor was he content with words. " At once 
assuming a heavy responsibility he directed the 
fortifications of Quebec to be repaired and 
thoroughly armed, ordered horses to be purchased 
for the artillery, magazines of provisions and 
ammunition to be established, barracks to be built, 
and new corps of loyal men to be raised. He sent 
for troops from Upper Canada and New Brunswick, 
and concentrated the small force he had in hand 
at Montreal as the chief -point d'appui of his 

Lord Gosford continued to temporize and declined 
the repeated offer of a royalist rifle corps, but the 
British and Irish saw more clearly the necessity for 
action and founded a powerful society called the 
" Doric Club." On the 6th November this club and 
the " Sons of Liberty " came into collision at 
Montreal, the victory remaining with the loyalists, 
who then wrecked the office of a revolutionary 

Mr. W. Henry writes that at this time he was on 
a professional visit to the family of Sir John 
Colborne at Sorel, and for several days that he 
remained hourly reports of a general insurrection 
about to break out were brought. " Nelson at this 

* W. Henry, II., p. 280. 

1837.] A RIOT. 281 

time was fortifying his house at St. Denis. We 
had constant intelligence of his proceedings as well 
as what was going on in other quarters, and Sir John 
only awaited his staff coming up from Quebec to 
move to Montreal. When the despatch was brought 
containing the news of the riot, he came into the 
drawing-room with the letter in his hand, exclaiming, 
1 Well, thank God there's no bloodshed, though the 
fight's begun. I must be off by to-night's boat.' ' 

On the 9th November Sir John Colborne estab- 
lished himself at Montreal, and from that date, 
owing to his influence on affairs, more energy was 
shown by the executive. On the I4th November 
Lord Gosford asked the Home Government to 
relieve him of his office. 

The following letter from Lady Colborne 
describes the situation at this moment : 

" Montreal, 

" 1 3th November, [183;]. 

" The whole country certainly has, to the surprise of 
everyone, apparently changed its nature in the short space 
of the last fortnight, and become interested in a revolution, 
by the chief agitators having promised them to do away 
with the signorial rights and give them the deeds of their 
lands and abolish tithes. The Quebec district at present 
remains quiet, but the whole of that of Montreal and all 
the counties on the Richelieu, TAcadie, &c, are so far in 
a state of revolt, that parties of 200 and 300 go about 
intimidating the loyal inhabitants and obliging them to 
give up their offices and join them. One poor magistrate 
or other officer was even put into a well and soused before 
he would, but at length, to save his life, did so. Their 
ultimate object, as it was decidedly believed by those who 
fear more than they understand, was to unite, and in 
great force, as far as numbers go, to attempt to do 


great things. Undoubtedly the supineness of Lord Gos- 
ford in putting a stop, whilst he had it in his power, to 
treasonable practices, which have been going on for 
months, has given them unbounded encouragement, but 
he has latterly been roused and frightened into a late com- 
pliance with good advice, and Sir John has in the last 
month worked so hard to be prepared in every way, that 
he has altogether not the slightest fear of anything 
occurring through the winter beyond petty annoyances 
and burnings, &c, in the country. An affray took place 
in this town about a week before we arrived, between the 
' Sons of Liberty/ as they style themselves, and ' The 
Doric Club ' which is a band of a number of the loyal 
members who have for some time been organizing among 
themselves to act for defence on any emergency. The 
' Sons of Liberty ' met in defiance of a proclamation issued 
that morning from Government, and therefore the Dorics 
turned out too. Hard blows passed, but happily not a 
life was lost, and the Sons were glad to retreat in quick 
time when the military were all out and ready to com- 
mence. Papineau took care to keep within his house but 
got all his windows broken, and they destroyed also the 
Radical press of the Vindicator. Since then everything 
has been perfectly quiet, and I firmly believe the whole 
party little expected such vigorous exertions in the military 
way as they now see Sir John has made, and is making, 
and begin to tremble and wish to retrograde a little. 

" It does, indeed, seem providential that not a week 
more passed before Sir John became so fully aware of the 
rapidity with which disaffection was proceeding, and as 
astonishing, the rapidity with which every vulnerable 
point has been strengthened, and he seems now to want 
nothing to be perfectly comfortable but the arrival of the 
regiments he sent off express for to Sir Colin Campbell, 
and which he hopes may arrive in a week. This, by 
strengthening Montreal, will enable him to give more 
assistance to the country, which he will not do at the 
slightest risk to Montreal, that being the main point. 


" They are beginning to quarrel a little with Papineau, 
and to threaten to place our neighbour, Dr. Nelson, about 
2O miles from Sorel, at their head. Arrests at length are 
to be made, most reluctantly extracted from Lord Gos- 
ford, and it is to be hoped a few of the leading characters 
will soon be safe in custody, which some think will go 
very far towards crushing the whole thing. The Attorney- 
General has been loudly called out on for not properly 
exerting himself, but he says he cannot act as Lieutenant- 
Governor, and that he does all the Governor will com- 
mission him to do. ... Every public officer seems 
fearful of going the length he ought from fear of not being 
supported by the local government and probably given 
over to the tender mercies of a Canadian jury for their 

" Sir John, however, seems to put life (I should only 
write this to you) into them all, and the effect of his pre- 
sence here shows itself visibly. He had everything pre- 
pared to support the civil power on Sunday last if the 
same drilling of hundreds took place which had gone on 
for many previous ones, but not a man appeared. 

" Sir John has brought all the military from Upper 
Canada, and Sir F. Head is glad to let them go, and thinks 
the effect will be good, to show how quiet that Province 
is. Then Sir John has enlisted all the pensioners settled 
in the Province. You would laugh to see how happy the 
old boys seem to be in the return to their old trade. 
Fifty offered to-day alone, and one from the 52nd said, 
' The last battle he fought was under Sir John, and he 
hoped the next would be.' He has stirred up Lord Gos- 
ford to arm the Constitutionalists, and he has already 
nearly ready 100 sleighs, each carrying 15 men, because the 
Canadians boast how much better they can travel in the 
winter than soldiers, and snow-shoes have been made for 
all the troops. Sir John's object has been, and he thinks 
he has, or shall have, quite effected it, to be so thoroughly 
prepared for anything they can think of, that people shall 
not only be perfectly secure, but feel themselves to be so. 


" Francis is put in orders as aide-de-camp, and will join 
us immediately. He has now been in the army more than 
a year. He will have much to do in the writing way, and 
Sir John says he will have plenty for James, too. As his 
regiment [the 24th] is arrived to-day at Montreal, he can 
still be acting with it. 

" Sir John and I came here on the loth. I flatter myself 
that no housemaids could have worked harder than Cor- 
delia and I have since we came. Now all is ready, and I 
trust we shall all be together again to-morrow. It is no 
joke having to move all our furniture from Quebec and 
Sorel, but our house is very comfortable. 

" My mother would have enjoyed our trip on the river. 
It was our first day's snow, and all looked dismal at leav- 
ing pretty, happy Sorel, with all the party in it. Just after 
we sailed I complained of the fire being so bad and the 
cabin so cold, when I was told the captain would not allow 
more, because there was so much gunpowder on board, 
and close to the ladies' cabin. Of course I was well 
satisfied to remain cold. 

" I feel certain that by the time this reaches you all will 
be better. A most respectable man from one of the news- 
papers told Sir John this morning that, violent as things 
were, a little determination such as was now going on 
would quickly bring them to their senses. They are a 
peaceable and quiet race, and have literally been coaxed 
into this state. 

" So little had warfare been expected in this Province 
that Sir John, when first we came from Upper Canada, 
found all military concerns were out of order, and now 
finds the advantage of all that he then did, anticipating 
that things in time would come to this pass if such a course 
of policy continued to be pursued by the Home Govern- 
ment. When last spring they came to try to shut the 
Quebec gates, which had not been closed for years, they 
would not move, and it cost nearly 100 to make them 
do so. 

" Sir John wrote to Lord Gosford and told him, if he did 



\ , A S S O M P T I O IN 






to illustrate 


t IT^ JonM O U N T^A 

r T rvS 

I fi0)ci&v^pMHid 


aF -n^^t ^ LadvwJfrs^mnO)-' 


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. Mount Johnson. 




to illustrate 

JELLIONS or 1837 & 1838 



Chambly Cantons. 

f O U V I L t ; E 



LLIONS or 1837 & 1838 



not do so and so, the Province would be lest to England. 
He took it well, and is so frightened that he does now seem 
inclined to follow advice. Of course this to yourselves." 

Various officers of militia having been intimidated 
into resigning their commissions, Colborne issued an 
order on i6th November that these resignations 
were void, and that such officers should be still con- 
sidered as holding their commissions. Colborne's 
influence was felt throughout the Province and the 
spirits of the loyal rose higher. 

Warrants had been issued on the i6th for the 
arrest of the principal leaders of the movement of 
sedition, but two of them, Damaray and Davignon, 
after being arrested were forcibly rescued and the 
revolutionary party gained new courage. 

It now became known to the authorities that 
large numbers of the neighbouring habitants were 
collected at Saint Denis and at Saint Charles, 
beyond the Richelieu Riven It was determined 
that Colonel Wetherall should advance by Ch^mbly, 
and that Colonel Gore, leaving Sorel, should first 
proceed to St. Denis, and after having dispersed 
the assemblage there, join Wetherall at St. Charles, 
six miles to the south. At St. Denis Gore failed in 
his attack on a house occupied by insurgents under 
Dr. Nelson, and retired without success to Sorel. 

Papineau, who had been with Nelson the day 
before, on the news of Gore's approach, fled to the 
United States. At St. Denis, on the 23rd, 
Lieutenant Weir, 32nd, who had been sent with 
despatches, was captured on his return and after- 
wards killed. Colonel Wetherall successfully 
attacked the rebels in an entrenched position at St. 


Charles on the 25th, and with the fall of St. Denis, 
on ist December, the rebellion in the Richelieu 
counties terminated. 

From Lady Colborne. 
" Montreal, 

"29th November, 1837. 

" Assure yourselves that Montreal is and will be safe. 
Had it been left as unquestionably it would have been 
but for Sir John's foresight and firmness and energy, there 
is no knowing what might not have happened. 

" The chiefs of all this desperate mischief, as Papineau, 
Wolford Nelson and their ' General ' Brown, to about the 
number of seven, after escaping the writs of arrest out 
against them, collected and entrenched themselves in the 
villages of St. Denis, 16 miles from poor dear Sorel, and 
St. Charles, 9 miles further on the same road ; collected a 
very large force of armed men, and actively made that 
whole line of country on the Richelieu in a complete state 
of open revolt Sir John determined to aid the magistrates 
in seizing them, and secretly arranged everything for an 
attack part of the 24th and 66th Regiments, with one 
gun, all under the command of Colonel Gore, to march by 
Sorel, and the Royal Regiment under Colonel Wetherall, 
and two guns, round by Chambly. Colonel Gore was to 
attack St. Denis, which would, it was thought, not detain 
him an hour, take the arms believed to be hoarded there, 
and join Colonel Wetherall at St. Charles, the stronghold, 
a? they thought, of the rebels. Oh, such a night as the 
22nd proved! Most tremendous rain, &c. It was im- 
possible for us to sleep and know what was going on. 
Colonel Gore arrived at St. Denis the next morning, after 
such a march as had exhausted his men, and to their 
surprise, instead of being able to knock down the house 
in five minutes, they stood an action of two and a half 
hours, and then were obliged to retreat with the loss of 
their gun, 8 killed and 8 wounded, including a Captain 
Markham, of the 32nd, who received four balls. When 
he found they were about to retire, he contrived not to be 

1837-] ST. DENIS AND ST. CHARLES. 287 

left, and an officer and sergeant most nobly dashed into the 
house where he was, under a heavy fire, and dragged him 
out Poor man, he received another wound as they took 
him away, and so did the sergeant. 

" The report of all this reached us long before anything 
official, and you cannot imagine the anxiety, knowing them 
all, and the fear they might not get back safe. I shall 
never forget the relief of hearing on Friday night Colonel 
Gore's voice on our stairs, and to hear that they were all 

" Then came the dreadful anxiety for poor Colonel 
Wetherall, who might have shared the same fate ; but 
happily, he prudently thought, the weather being so 
dreadful, it would be useless to attack with exhausted 
men waited and through having heard of Colonel 
Gore's repulse, was a little doubtful about doing it without 
a chance of his assistance did attack, and completely 
routed the place, and the good that it is believed to have 
done is immense in opening the eyes of the poor, deluded 
people, who are led on, they know not to what, by a few 
ambitious, wicked chiefs, who leave them the instant things 
go badly. They all took refuge in St. Denis the moment 
St. Charles was attacked, except one, the proprietor of one 
of the most Radical papers, who was killed, and 120 
besides. Only two of the Royal Regiment were killed. 

" A most melancholy occurrence took place in the cap- 
ture, by treachery, of a young officer of the 32nd, Mr. 
Weir, and there is, I fear, no doubt now that he has since 
been killed for trying to make his escape. 

" Colonel Wetherall will return to-morrow. Everyone 
is enthusiastic and overjoyed at his success. Another and 
stronger expedition is going off to-morrow, I believe 
against St. Denis. If successful, the whole line of country 
is reclaimed, aad our communication with the States for 
provisions, post, &c." 

"[? ist December.] 
" You will rejoice to hear that things appear to go well. 


The expressions of loyalty are thickening on most sides, 
and the demands for arms for volunteer corps, &c., are 
highly satisfactory to Sir John. So are his accounts of 
the expedition sent a second time against St. Denis in 
stronger force. An express arrived about an hour since 
saying Colonel Gore had taken possession of it, burnt all 
the houses that opposed him the former time, was just 
going to destroy all Nelson's property, had recovered the 
gun they lost before and their wounded soldiers. They 
also sent here two principal traitors, though, alas! not 
Papineau, Nelson or Brown. They fled on the approach 
of the troops. Papineau told the inhabitants he should go 
to the States, and promised them to return soon with an 
army of 10,000 men, and they believe it, I dare say. 

" Sir John says he hopes to have the country quiet in a 
month ; they are all so cowed by what has passed. What 
would you have felt at the sight that passed before our 
house on Tuesday last : the victorious regiment (Royals) 
on its return from St Charles with the cavalry, &c, bring- 
ing their spoils with them, a high pole with the cap of 
liberty, a placard or standard dedicated to Papineau, two 
guns and 32 prisoners? 

" The victors looked sadly worn with their hard three 
days' work and the fate of poor Mr. Weir, of the 32nd, 
who has certainly been murdered since they took him, but 
they were most enthusiastically received here. 

" Two poor women were standing close to our gate 
when all the cheering was going on. One presently saw 
the soldier she was looking for, who just stepped aside and 
shook both her hands. The other seemed to eye every- 
one with intense anxiety, but all passed on without her 
finding him ; she then threw her apron over her head and 
went off, as it seemed, in despair. Poor things, what 
misery there is in the country, and what have not rebel 
chiefs to answer for! 

" Do not allow yourself to be uneasy about us personally. 
I am quite convinced that Montreal this winter is as safe 
as Yealmpton. 


" One soldier took General Brown's coat with two 
epaulettes. One of our servants knew him well when he 
kept a store in Montreal. He is an American. Wolford 
Nelson is a doctor, and often used to come to Sorel village. 

" Many things occur to make one laugh. Just now our 
washerwoman came to hope we would not be angry if she 
lost our clothes, for ' if the town was attacked she was sure 
she should be too frightened and hurried to pick them all 
up/ and she had slept in her clothes and burnt a light for 
two nights to be as ready as she could. All the poor 
people are in a state of horrible alarm, for they think that 
if such preparations are necessary they cannot be safe, 
instead of feeling safe in consequence. A servant who 
came to offer the day after I came here and was to call in 
two or three days for her answer, only came to-day and 
said she had never left her room, she was so afraid of 
going into the streets. 

" We are all well, Sir John bearing all fatigue, &c., 
better than I expected." 

But the news of Gore's repulse at St. Denis had 
a result in an insurrection in St. Eustache, a village 
in the county of the Two Mountains. This move- 
ment was headed by a Swiss named Girod and a 
Dr. Chenier, who on ist December seized the 
convent and established themselves there with a 
three-pounder gun. On the I3th December Sir 
John Colborne in person marched from Montreal 
to attack the stronghold. He had delayed his 
departure till he could take the field with a force 
prepared to meet the formidable numbers of 
desperate men who he had been led to believe 
were in arms. The real numbers of the rebels were 
about 800, while Sir John Colborne's force of 2,000 
men, with artillery, was equal to meeting twenty 
times as many. On the I4th the troops crossed the 



River of a Thousand Islands and entered the village 
of St. Eustache, where the insurgents under Chenier 
occupied the church, the convent, the presbytery, 
and an adjacent house. .When the attack com- 
menced only about 250 insurgents had stayed to 
receive it. Girod had himself fled. In an hour 
the insurgents were driven from their position, some 
seventy of them, including Chenier, being killed, 
and the village was in flames. 

The British troops next morning marched against 
St. Benoit. Before they started Sir John Colborne 
had sent a message demanding that the arms of the 
insurgents there should be given up, and threatening 
that, if a single shot were fired from the village, it 
would be abandoned to fire and pillage. No 
opposition was encountered, but owing to the rage 
of the loyal population the village was set on fire 
and for the most part consumed, in spite of all efforts 
to save it. 

On 1 6th December the column returned to 
Montreal, where as on its march it was received 
with great enthusiasm. The British authorities did 
not relax their measures of defence and Montreal 
became a large camp. But the strength of the 
rebels had been exaggerated. They had formed 
but an insignificant part of the French-Canadian 
population, and their effort was now at an end. 

Hardly so much was known when Lady Colborne 
wrote the following letter after the return from 
St. Benoit: 

" Montreal, 

" 1 8th December. 

" How happy it will make you, my dearest mother, 

1 837.] BURNING OF ST. BENOIT. 291 

to hear that my dear husband and Francis and all are 
returned, not only safe and sound, but the former, I really 
think, better both in health and spirits than when he set 
off, He had been so completely shut up, and so over- 
whelmed with writing, talking and thinking, that the being 
so long in the open air with such a change of employment, 
and the relief it is to him to feel that the revolt is almost 
entirely put down, and the prosperous way things are now 
going on in the Upper Province, seems quite to have 
cured cough and anything, and I shall only now have to 
fatten him a little. It was quite astonishing, no, not 
astonishing, but lamentable to me, to find how much flesh 
he had lost since we left the happy, and as we then felt, 
quiet, Sorel. 

" He returned with his staff on Saturday, having gone 
with the whole force on from St. Eustache to the Grand 
Brule or St. Bennet, where they were received by the 
whole of the inhabitants who remained in the place 
(numbers, with the chief, having fled to St. Scolastique) 
with white flags and their arms on the ground, as well as 
on their knees. They stayed there Friday night, the staff 
with Sir John in the house of the chief, first taking good 
care to see that they had not filled their cellar with gun- 
powder. The houses of the principal rebels were ordered 
to be fired in the morning, but happily, as everyone thinks 
(for Sir John would not order it), partly by accident, and 
partly by indignation of the volunteers, the whole was in 
a blaze so rapidly, the wind being- high, that they had some 
difficulty in escaping the smoke so thick and the fires 
bursting out on every side, they were afraid they should 
not get their horses on, and they could not go back. 

" Part of the forces returned yesterday with 1 20 
prisoners ; the remainder proceeded on to St. Scolastique, 
where 1,000 collected with white flags and 'vehement 
cheering for the Queen.' I suppose it shared the same 
fate as St. Bennet 

" Poor Sir John ! I cannot fancy anyone placed in a 
more difficult, arduous and responsible situation. What a 

L 2 


blessing it is to feel that he is a true Christian and will 
act according to his conscience without attending to the 
violence of parties. However he may be blamecTat present 
by those whose revenge, I do think, would almost lead 
them, in their present excited state, to torture every 
prisoner to death, all will acknowledge in the end that his 
judgment, as it has always proved, is best. Martial law 
puts everything in his power, and I do believe everyone 
almost was hoping to see the place deluged with the blood 
of the wretched criminals. Not one has yet been sacri- 
ficed. All of whom it could be at all proved they had been 
forced to take up arms have been liberated, and after the 
affair is quite over the State prisoners will have a fair trial 
by law. 

" The petitions from mothers, wives, &c., are heart- 
rending. I have had while writing to read and have a 
good cry over a letter from the mother of Bouchette, who 
was taken at the affair of Missisquoi, and for whom a 
reward of 500 was offered Wolford Nelson was reported 
to be dead yesterday, but he had only taken an immense 
dose of opium, and is recovered again. 

" Poor Francis, in carrying messages as aide-de-camp, 
had many shots levelled at him. All seemed quiet, and 
they could hardly tell what houses, &c., were guarded. A 
Congreve rocket intended for the town wavered in the air 
over their heads and then fell close to Sir John and the 
whole staff. Had it burst, as it ought to have done, it 
must have killed 10 or 12. These things are not to be 
talked of, you know, for in military affairs they are for ever 

* The rocket is treated from the humorous side by Sir Daniel 
Lysons, who was present : " A rather amusing incident happened 
during the fight. I happened to ride up from the ice to report to the 
General that all the troops were safe over, just as he ordered the 
Rocket Troop to come into action and fire into the church a heavy 
rocket, a venerable survivor of the Peninsular War. The Ordnance 
Department imagined, I believe, that rockets would improve like port 
wine by keeping: the result was that when it was fired, instead of 
rising, it fell, and not clearing a wooden fence in front of the troop, 


" They had delightful weather the whole time, for though 
very cold, it was bright and beautiful, and moonlight 
Now it is heavy snow. They were rather alarmed by the 
ice when the immense weight was on it one waggon and 
four horses lost It was half a mile wide where they 
crossed, and it bent under them, and it was reported that 
the rebels had cut the sides. It was silly for their own 
defence that they did not. 

" Johnny has just rushed into the room to show me a 
large white flag with a large black eagle painted on it, 
and an inscription, ' Free as air/ which a sergeant has 
brought him home. ' He says he seized it in battle, mama, 
for me.' 

" Four companies of the 24th were all the regular troops 
we had in Montreal. Sir John has armed 9,000 volunteers 
in the Province since we first came to Montreal. 

" Since I finished my letter, Girod, the leader of St. 
Eustache, for whom 500 was offered, has shot himself. 
He was in a wood and saw no chance of escape. Scott, 
another 500 offered for, has just been taken in Montreal. 
In Chenier's pocket, after he was killed, was found a plan 
for attacking the bridge at St. Martin's over which they 
passed. Sir John had defended it for some days." 

broke its long tail short off. The huge head went whirling and 
twirling, whizzing and fizzing, all over a ploughed field in the most 
frightful manner. There was a general stampede Headquarter Staff, 
Rocket Troop, and all, took flight." Early Reminiscences (1896), 
p. 88. 

( 2 94 ) 


CANADA, 1838-1839. REBELLION OF 1838. SIR 

ON 1 3th January, 1838, it was known in Quebec 
that Lord Gosford's resignation had been accepted. 
On the 20th February he gave over his authority to 
Sir John Colborne as administrator. 

Kingsford writes of Lord Gosford : " There are 
few governors-general with less claim to respect. 
. . . He had, moreover, the misfortune to act 
with a weak doctrinaire Colonial Secretary, Lord 
Glenelg, who had formed theories of government 
entirely irreconcilable with the circumstances of 
the situation. Fortunately, as a deus ex machina, 
Sir John Colborne stepped upon the scene with the 
courage to act upon his convictions and the capacity 
to penetrate fact and circumstance. He judged the 
situation correctly, and was deterred by no timid 
sense of responsibility in the performance of his duty. 
He saw that vigour alone could save the province 
from the anarchy that was threatening it ; he met 
the crisis in a brave spirit, with unfaltering purpose, 
and he was equally actuated by mercy; for, to the 
honour of the British Government, there was not a 
single death-penalty paid, even by the most active in 
the rebellion of 1837, when it was believed that the 
danger was past."* 

* X., p. 104. 


At the end of January, 1838, Lord John Russell 
informed the House of Commons that the Ministry 
had decided to suspend the constitution of Lower 
Canada and to send out Lord Durham as special 
commissioner, with authority, in concert with five 
of his council, to pass the necessary ordinances. He 
would further be instructed to summon three mem- 
bers of the legislative council and ten of the House 
of Assembly of each Province to confer on the 
future government of the Province. Lord Durham 
left England on 24th April. 

The Act suspending the constitution reached 
Lower Canada in February and was proclaimed on 
20th March. On the 5th April Sir John Colborne 
published the names of the special council. On the 
1 2th April he directed the militia to be disembodied, 
and on the 27th he declared the reign of martial law 
to be at an end. On the 2 9th May Lord Durham 
landed at Quebec "and assumed his authority. 

In spite of a hauteur which made him rather 
unpopular in some official and social circles, with 
the great mass of the population he gained at once 
the respect due to his energy and marked statesman- 
like qualities. Having appointed a council of his 
own, of which only one member was a Canadian, 
he proceeded at once to institute a searching inquiry 
into the grievances of the country.* The result 
appeared the following January in that famous 

* Lord Durham had Colborne's support in these measures. 
Colborne wrote on 3Oth June : " With respect to my own communica- 
tions with his lordship, and to the conversations which I have had 
with him, they have been entirely satisfactory, and I concur with him 
in all his views which he has made known to me." Kingsford, X., 
p. 124. 


Report which, by recommending a representative 
system of government, safeguarded by the union of 
Upper and Lower Canada, terminated a long period 
of strife and opened an era of prosperity and content 
in the colony. 

On the 5th June Sir John Colborne arrived at 
Montreal from Quebec and proceeded on a military 
tour of inspection to Upper Canada. Everywhere 
in his old Province he was received with addresses 
of congratulation. On his departure he was 
escorted to his steamboat by the whole population. 
On his return to Montreal (i5th June) the inhabitants 
presented another address. 

Major Richardson writes pleasantly of some 
meetings with Sir John Colborne about this time : 

" Sir John was a frank and courteous old soldier, 
with an erect and military carriage and an unpre- 
tendingness that is by no means common to men 
conscious of being high in the public favour. I was 
particularly struck with the general expression of 
his strongly-marked countenance, which greatly 
resembles that of his Grace the Duke of Wellington. 
In figure, however, he is much taller. . . . 

" Shortly after the arrival of Sir John Colborne in 
Quebec, and before the departure of Lord Durham 
for Upper Canada, a review of the troops in garrison, 
consisting chiefly of the Guards, then recently arrived 
in the country, took place on the Plains of Abraham. 
Sir John with a very brilliant staff was present on 
the ground when I rode up, and it occurred to me 
that he was viewing with deep admiration the fine 
body of men drawn up in line whom it had never 
before been his fortune to have submitted to his 


inspection." . . . Major Richardson goes on to 
relate that, when the review was over, Sir John, 
riding off the field in advance of the troops, observed 
him watching them defile into the road. " He 
immediately left the main body of his staff, and 
trotting his horse up to me, asked, with an exultation 
in his manner I had never previously remarked, 
whether I had ever seen a more splendid body of 
men or troops who went through their evolutions in 
a more steady and masterly manner. ... I 
confess I was at the time somewhat surprised that 
so old and distinguished a soldier as Sir John 
Colborne should have asked the opinion of one whom 
it was a good deal the fashion at that period to affect 
to slight, but ... I was at no loss to comprehend 
the delicate compliment which had been paid to me,, 
or the warm and soldierlike feeling which had drawn 
it forth. Although the delivery of Sir John was at 
all times quick and impetuous, his manner, while 
kind, was reserved ; and therefore the departure 
on this occasion from his habit conveyed to the 
troops . . . one of the highest tributes of praise that 
could have been rendered."* 

On the 7th July Lord Durham left Quebec for 
Montreal and Western Canada. He was joined at 
Queenston on the i3th by Sir John Colborne, 
and at Niagara met the Lieutenant-Governor of the 
Upper Province, Sir George Arthur. After visiting 
Buffalo Lord Durham and Colborne returned to 
Niagara, where they held a review of the troops (a 
squadron of the King's Dragoon Guards, a battery 

* Eight Years in Canada (1847), PP- 3^> 40. 


of artillery, the 43rd Regiment and a detachment of 
the 24th) to demonstrate to the hostile party in the 
United States that the Canadian bank of the river 
was strongly garrisoned. 

After Lord Durham's arrival Sir John Colborne 
saw an opportunity of resigning his command at a 
moment of tranquillity. 

Sir John's resignation became known in England, 
where it was attributed to the offence he had taken 
at some insolent treatment on the part of Lord 
Durham. This his brother-in-law, Mr. John Yonge, 
contradicted in various papers. 

Lady Colborne wrote on I4th September from 
Sorel : 

" Sir John is generally of opinion that it is much better 
to let the papers fight out their opinions as they please, 
and that all will in time find its level. Nor does he wish 
to have too positively asserted the exact causes of his 
giving up his command. . . . He by no means desires 
it should in future be thought he placed full confidence 
in the future under Lord Durham's administration. He 
only, as far as it went, and up to the -period of his 
approving his measures, gave him his hearty concurrence 
and assistance, but he very soon thought him a person 
who might bring on the greatest difficulties. But I am 
happy to tell you he is much obliged for what you did 
both as to motive and real use. 

" He is very glad the extracts [from Sir John's letters] 
were all before the arrival of Lord Durham. 

" If Lord Durham does not stop in time, everything must 
go wrong discontent and disgust is gaining ground 
rapidly. The danger is that, if another revolt took place, 
so disgusted are the loyal that their exertions would be 
very difficult to be roused in the same way. The excite- 
ment occasioned by the getting off of the murderers of Mr. 


Weir and Chartrand is immense. Only fancy the im- 
pudence of the jury, not content with giving, according to 
form, their verdicts by their foreman, but each roaring out, 
and then the immense crowd in the town to rejoice on 
their leaving the prison, and then both jury and prisoners 
going together and enjoying a public dinner. 

" It is said that Lord Durham is becoming more and 
more disgusted and annoyed with everything, and wishes 
he had never come. The Attorney-General says, ' Depend 
on it, his talent is much over-rated. If they would but 
have left Sir John, all would have gone well, but it is not 
yet irretrievable, if they would but see it and replace him.' 
I hope this will never be, and so does Sir John, I am sure. 
Sir John went yesterday to Montreal to have his favourite 
review of the troops. I have taken a sergeant into the 
house at night. Sir John offered me a bugler in case I 
wanted the whole regiment 

" Lord Durham is constantly laid up for days together, 
and Mr. Buller as bad." 

In spite of his resignation of his command Sir 
John Colborne was destined to stay in Canada for 
some time longer. Lord Glenelg, writing on the 
7th July, gave him reason to expect that his wish 
would be speedily met, but on the i8th August he 
expressed to him Her Majesty's desire that he would 
consent to continue at his post on account of the 
" inconvenience, and even injury," to which great 
national interests might be exposed by his retire- 
ment at that time. He added in a private letter 
that he and his colleagues looked with alarm at any 
transfer of the command to other hands at that crisis. 
" In addition to your well-known military qualifica- 
tions you enjoy the confidence of all persons in the 
Provinces to a degree to which it is clear no other 
could attain. I need not explain to you how much 


you enjoy that of the Government." Lord 
Glenelg's appeal was supported by letters from 
Lord Hill and Lord Fitzroy Somerset, and Sir John 
Colborne, with characteristic patriotism, consented 
to stay. 

On the 28th September Lord Durham resigned 
his office, piqued at the refusal of the home Govern- 
ment to support an ordinance by which he had 
banished to Bermuda eight leaders in the late 
rebellion. The British population was thrown into 
consternation at the threatened loss of the statesman 
who seemed born to be the saviour of the country 
and the seeming indifference of the home Govern- 
ment to their interests, and the malcontents were 
emboldened to new efforts. 

Lady Colborne wrote about I4th October: 

" Sir John goes to Quebec to-night at Lord Durham's 
request, who leaves it on the 2/th to go through the 
States and meet our dear ' Inconstant ' on the Delaware 
River. He tells me, in answer to my inquiry what I shall 
say to you, ' Oh, tell him we are in a shocking mess here, 
and that all Lord Durham's fine statement of the peace 
and heavenly tranquillity which his lordship had been the 
means of bringing about, and the sort of thing he sets 
forth is all, so far, humbug, that nothing can restore it 
until it is finally settled at home how Canada is to be 
permanently governed/ Lord Durham will make a great 
effort to turn out the Ministry. I sent you his proclama- 
tion two days since. Severe remarks are made on it by 
some, particularly the expressions about the House of 

" We shall go instantly to Montreal when he is clear off 
and happily have the house, furniture, &c, he was to have 
occupied, but we would rather have had the berths he has 
taken from us in the ' Inconstant/ 


"We have had Francis' Colonel, Lord Charles Welles- 
ley, staying two days with us, and like him very much. 
Quite a plain, charming kind of open character ; much 
more the sort of person you would say must be a sailor 
than a soldier and the Duke of Wellington's son. I quite 
enjoy the example he sets to all young men. He came 
here even without a servant (not that he intended staying), 
and even bringing on shore his little portmanteau himself, 
and saddling his little pony. He was taken prisoner by 
the patrol the first night he joined, and when he said he 
was an officer of the I5th, the guard of the I5th, of course, 
denied it, never having seen him ; so he was sent to the 
guard-house. He says Sir John is so ridiculously like 
the Duke, he could at first hardly help laughing, and 
thought his father was talking to him. 

" Sir George Arthur and Mr. Hagerman have spent two 
days with us. He went to tell Lord Durham he would 
resign rather than carry his general amnesty into effect in 
Upper Canada ; so Lord D. has come into his views, and 
they are to go to Botany Bay no deaths 25, I believe. 
We like him much." 

In the middle of October the signs of new disturb- 
ances were so evident that Sir John Colborne was 
entrusted with the duty of defending the Province. 
He called out the volunteers and took steps to 
defend the frontier. On Lord Durham's departure 
for England, on ist November, Colborne was once 
more administrator of the government. A revo- 
lutionary movement at once began in the counties 
on the Richelieu River, where, at different spots, 
large bodies of disaffected habitants assembled with 
the expectation of being joined by sympathisers 
from the United States. In an affray between the 
insurgents and a body of Indians on the 3rd the 
attempt of the former to seize arms and ammunition 


in Caughnawaga was frustrated and 70 of them 
taken as prisoners to Montreal. On the 4th a panic 
raged at Montreal, a rising having taken place in 
the district of the city south of the St. Lawrence. 

Sir John Colborne, who was at Sorel, on hearing 
of the rising on the Richelieu, left on the 3rd for 
Montreal, where he at once assembled his council 
and proclaimed martial law. 

From Lady Colborne. 

" Montreal, 

" 6th November. 

" So thankful to be arrived here only so exactly in time. 
Sir John is, thank God, so well, and in good spirits. Oh> 
if his finger did but ache now, what should we do? 1 
trust the vigorous measures so rapidly effected will 
frighten them from more formidable attempts. I think 
Lord Durham must now be pretty well convinced that he 
had not effected all he fancied of Elysian peace and quiet- 
ness. I am not frightened ; nothing great can be effected, 
and I am used to -petty horrors. We are all well and all 
together, safe arrived from Sorel. The cottage had been 
strongly guarded ; still there was danger, though Sir John 
was not aware of it." 

Four thousand insurgents had assembled at 
Napierville, 15 miles from the United States 
boundary, where, on the 4th, Robert Nelson had 
been proclaimed President of the Canadian 
Republic. On the 6th they marched into the 
United States, but not being joined by new 
adherents, as they had hoped to be, recrossed the 
frontier on the 7th, when they were attacked by a 
British force and routed, leaving n dead on the 


Nelson, who had stayed at Napierville, left on the 
8th with about 1,000 men and attacked a small 
British force in a Methodist church at Odelltown. 
After meeting with a determined resistance the rebels 
retired, leaving 50 dead. 

On the 7th and 8th a column left Montreal under 
Lieutenant-General Macdonell. It consisted of 
some squadrons of the King's Dragoon Guards and 
7th Hussars, the Grenadier Guards, the i5th, 24th, 
1 7th and 73rd Regiments, and two batteries of 
artillery. On reaching Napierville Macdonell 
found the insurgents had left en masse. He dis- 
persed some gatherings at St. Edouard and St. Remi, 
a little to the west. 

An insurgent camp which had been formed near 
Boucherville, under one Mailhot, broke up on the 
advance of the 66th Regiment. 

Another party of insurgents was dispersed at 
Beauharnois on the loth by a detachment of the 
Napierville force under Colonel Carmichael. This 
was the last act in the revolt in Lower Canada, which 
collapsed after lasting one week. 

Sir John Colborne, on crossing from La Prairie, 
was received with enthusiasm at Montreal on the 
I4th, and on the i7th announced that quiet had been 
re-established. Unfortunately much property had 
been destroyed owing to the exasperation of the 
volunteers against the habitants. 

From Lady Colborne. 
" Montreal, 

" i;th November, 1838. 

" I have found it impossible to write to anyone during 
the last (almost a) fortnight now of excitement, which, from 


various causes, has been to me greater than I think I ever 
passed ; though thank God not of such great alarm of 
actual danger as I sometimes felt last winter. I suppose 
I am more hardened to warfare, for certainly there can be 
no reasonable doubt that the state of affairs has been 
infinitely more perilous, and every day proves how much 
more extensive, much more secret, much more deeply laid, 
all the plans of the enemy have now been. 

" I was surprised to find that in different affairs at least 
10,000 men at arms have already been conquered and dis- 
persed. La Colle, Beauharnois, Napierville, Odelltown, 
Boucherville and all the country round quieted, but 
actually that number in arms, without counting the 
abominable 800 Yankees at Prescott [Upper Canada], who 
this morning we learn have cost us more lives than all the 
rest put together, and sadly distressing it is to Sir John, 
of course, that he was obliged to draw the force from that 
neighbourhood before it was attacked. Such a reinforce- 
ment, however, went immediately that not one, it is to be 
hoped, can escape from the mill where they have now 
stationed themselves, and from which nothing but heavy 
artillery can dislodge them. 

" Sir John, with all the force he could take with safety 
to Montreal, was absent from Thursday [8th] to Tuesday 
[13th], and the fatigue, &c., all went through from the 
horrible state of the roads, the weather, &c., was very 
great, but the troops have borne it famously, and Sir 
John, they all say, seemed to stand it better than almost 
anyone. He was, however, very glad to lie down when he 
came home, and I flattered myself he would have some 
days, at least, of comparative rest, when in less than an 
hour James comes in, ' Well, Sir, your campaigns are not 
over so soon as you think ; 800 Americans have landed, 
and Colonel Gore and Colonel Wetherall are downstairs 
with the despatches, waiting to see you.' It proved, 
indeed, an anxious time, and I have seldom seen him so 
anxious, so thoughtful, so sleepless, till the day before 
yesterday, when an account came, ' Hard fighting, but I 


think we shall beat them.' As Sir John knew that almost 
immediately after the troops he instantly dispatched would 
have arrived, he has been tolerably comfortable. Before, 
his fear was that they must be coming over in much greater 
numbers, and, in so disaffected a part of the country, might 
get a kind of stand. We have lost, I am sorry to say, 45 
killed and wounded, two officers killed the loss much 
greater on the other side. It is very dreadful to rejoice at 
such things as we are obliged to now, and I am constantly 
obliged to recollect what horrors they intended for us 
when I hear of the misery occasioned by the march of 
the troops through the rebels' land, and to confine my pity 
to the poor women and children who fly to the woods 
and return only to find all destroyed, for it is impossible 
to prevent it, or to keep proper discipline, except with the 
regular troops. ' Ordered expressly by Sir John Colborne 
not to be burnt,' they say is to be seen written in white 
chalk in all directions, but it is useless. The volunteers w ill 
revenge themselves in a degree ; but not more, Sir John 
says, than must be expected, and with nothing of the 
cruelty that was openly intended, had they been the victors. 
Major Phillpotts was sent to head the party who were to 
rescue Beauharnois and poor Mrs. Ellice* and the other 
prisoners. Fancy her and her sister, after being seven 
days without taking off her clothes, crammed into a room 
with 30 or 40 others ; then, when sitting in a corner to be 
out of the way, if possible, of the bullets which came into 
the house, not knowing what force was sent, what the 
firing was, and expecting the rebels would put them to 
death every minute, to see the door open, and hear Major 
Phillpotts exclaim, ' I congratulate you, Mrs. Ellice ; all is 
safe, and you are free.' She gave me the whole account, 
from the first attack on their house. They were woke 
from their sleep by such a shout and yell, she says, she 
never shall forget. Then Mr. Ellice was carried away 
from them, and they never heard of him again till they saw 
him after their rescue. He, poor man, passed the whole 

* Her husband had been Lord Durham's Private Secretary. 


time in the dark, and on the day Napicrville was taken, 
to which place 400 were carrying him, when they heard 
of the defeat, they consulted in his hearing whether they 
should kill him, but finally let him escape, and he arrived 
here Sunday. 

" Prisoners are coming in from arrests and skirmishes 
every day. We have now between 600 and 700, and the 
jail cannot hold them. The court-martials must begin 
directly. My husband decidedly thinks that the worst is 
past. We are strong enough if all the States were to 
invade us instead of this vile portion of cut-throats. 

" Few persons know or believe the extent of the com- 
munications Sir John received from Washington and 
other places. From the confessions of the chiefs, had they 
not been disturbed and detected sooner than they ex- 
pected, it would have been bad indeed. I was told yester- 
day by a person of judgment, it is impossible to calculate 
to what extent things would have gone had Sir John not 
arrived here the very day he did and proclaimed martial 
law that day" 

" 1 8th November. 

" I must give you the good news just arrived from Pres- 
cott. As soon as the heavy artillery, iS-pounders, could 
be procured from Kingston, the 83rd, commanded by 
Colonel Dundas, and the armed steamboat by Captain 
vSandom recommenced the attack, I told you was sus^ 
pended, on the Americans, who had taken up a very strong 
position in a windmill and adjacent houses. They bore 
the second battering for more than an hour, but then 
surrendered. About 100 prisoners, 16 wounded, six pieces 
of cannon, quantity of powder, &c. Two or three hun- 
dred had contrived, in the nights previously, to make their 
escape, and amongst them their leader, a Pole but fortu- 
nately he has been taken. I trust this example will make 
the Yankees more careful how they pay us another visit 

" I believe I told you of all the combustibles, &c., found 
on board the ' Princess Victoria ' steamboat, which was the 

1838.] COURTS-MARTIAL. 307 

only one for some days communicating between Montreal 
and La Prairie, and conveying all our troops backwards 
and forwards ; a man also secreted. It has now been 
discovered that she in flames was the appointed signal for 
their great rising, &c., to commence. One of their chief 
plots was to take possession of all the boats, and one or 
two have always been suspected as to captain and crew. 
So Sir John took quickly possession of them and put 
strong guards on board. 

" Despatches have this day arrived. The Queen thanks 
Sir John for consenting to remain. 

" The courts-martial commence trying the 700 prisoners 
here to-morrow. How I wish it was all over. They all 
pass close to our windows. It is curious and most 
melancholy to witness the different expression of their 

What was to be done with the rebels who had 
been taken prisoners ? Lord Glenelg had suggested 
the constitution of a tribunal for cases of treason 
and murder. Colborne thought this impracticable, 
and his special council decided that the prisoners 
should be tried by courts-martial. The court was 
convened on the 28th November. 

From Lady Colborne. 

" Montreal, 

" roth December. 

" With the first dozen only yet tried, four are sentenced 
to be hung, six transported, and two acquitted. This is 
not yet publicly known. I know my dear good husband 
will and must feel all this to be particularly trying, as all 
have very good characters up to the time they meddled in 
politics, and almost all with families. Still, as you will see 
by the Herald, nothing can satisfy the #//ra-British 
party and with one party he must be content to be stig- 
matized as a tyrant, with the other as shamefully lenient 


i am sure he feels as a Christian should, with much more 
inclination to be too lenient. 

" He has at last suspended [8th December] the refrac- 
tory judges Bedard and Panet,* and a fine fuss he says it 
will make in England. The Council and all the judges 
are unanimous in approving what he has done. 

" All the confessions make it clear that that Sunday 
night [4th November] the whole country was to rise. 
The first arrests at St. John's threw a panic over them. 
But I little, at the time, thought of what importance Sir 
John's arrival was that Saturday night. 

" We are not alarmed in the least now, except for the 
future state of the Provinces, and I trust that we shall be 
out of it before another winter. I do not think anything 
should now induce Sir John to remain much longer." 

" Montreal, 

" ;th January. 

" The very morning before your letter came I had a 
good laugh at Sir John saying how much he should like 
to be a gardener in Devonshire, and to have me for his 
weeding-woman ! 

" I hope you saw the Yankee resolution at a public 
meeting that The Despot Colborne had filled up the 
measure of his own and his country's iniquity, and 
deserved, &c. The court-martials are going on. Two or 
three more must suffer; but in spite of the Herald, who 
calls him ' weak/ &c., &c, Sir John hopes that may suffice. 
Sir George [Arthur] takes life for life, but then they are 

" Nothing would make those who were hanged here 
believe that Sir John would dare to execute the sentence ; 
the change in the behaviour of the prisoners has been 
great since. They now get frightened after the first day 
of their trial at the solemnity of the court, and the caution 

* See Kingsford, X., pp. 188 191. Kingsford supports Colborne in 
this action. 


and care shown towards them, and instead of laughing 
and bravado they become humble and apparently 

The following letter announces Sir John 
Colborne's receipt of his commission as 
Governor-General. The appointment had been 
gazetted on I4th December: 

From Lady Colborne. 

" Montreal, 

" 1 5th January. 

" I must first notice all the great tin cases that have 
arrived with the different commissions for all the different 
provinces, constituting Sir John Governor-General. Lord 
Glenelg might have been amused at Sir John's first 
exclamation on the arrival of the news, ' Oh, well, at all 
events, it gives us a frigate to go home in.' For our chil- 
dren's sake, we ought to rejoice that they will have proofs, 
in the honours conferred on him, that their father was one 
worthy of their highest admiration and imitation ; nor 
would I pretend to say we do not feel gratified by the 
appointment as well as by the way, for Lord Glenelg 
expresses much from the Queen, as well as the sub- 
stantial addition that the commission is sent free of ex- 
pense. It is usual for the Governors to pay 500 for it, 
and Sir James Kempt never took his out rather than have 
that to pay. 

" I shall be most thankful when these dreadful courts- 
martial are over, for little as their results satisfy the 
horrible Herald, who now declares Sir John to be under 
' petticoat government/ from his ' weakness and timidity,' 
they will, even confining themselves to the narrowest 
limits, have still many more examples to make. Five are 
almost immediately to be executed, four of these, horrible 
murderers, and one leader of the rebellion. 

" Is there any chance of Lord Durham becoming for- 
midable as leader of a decided Radical party ? I cannot 


but think after all he is too conscientious to take any steps 
he really thinks bad for the country to gratify his own 
wounded pride. The worst is, he acts too much from the 
impulse of feeling, and (perhaps) regrets too late." 

Kingsford tells a touching story in connection 
with the execution of one of the prisoners, Duquette. 
A Vermont merchant who knew the prisoner, and 
thought that, being only 1 8, he could not have been 
involved in anything very serious, determined to 
plead for him to the Governor-General. He hired 
horses and travelled with all speed to Montreal, where 
he told his story to Sir John Colborne. Sir John was 
deeply affected, tears rolled down his cheeks, and 
he sobbed out, " My God, you are too late. That 
young man was executed yesterday."* 

And Major Richardson gives similar testimony 
to Sir John's reluctance to shed blood : 

" His enemies have accused him of being blood- 
thirsty and crueL Never was there a more unjust 
or ungrounded charge. . . . Even where his own 
impartial judgment has pointed out to him that 
mercy were a compromise of duty, more than one 
life which had been forfeited to the Crown has he 
restored to the entreaties of a despairing family."t 

Canon Anderson, of the Cathedral, Montreal, told 
Lady Montgomery- Moore the following story of 
this time, which he had had from Sir John 
Colborne's Adjutant-General, Colonel Eden. On 
the morning when an execution was to take place, 
Colonel Eden called to see Sir John on business 
connected with it, and was told to go upstairs to his 

* Kingsford, X., pp. 186, 187. 
f Eight Years in Canada, p. 64. 


study. The door was ajar, and thinking Sir John 
was not there, he entered. He saw him kneeling. 
"Anderson," Colonel Eden said, " I saw that good 
man on his knees, so rapt in prayer that he did not 
even hear me, and I went back and burst into tears, 
it so touched me." 

Lord Durham's report was laid before Parliament 
on the 3ist January, and on the 3rd May a royal 
message recommended the union of Upper and 
Lower Canada. This, however, did not become 
law till the following year. 

Lady Colborne wrote to her brother, " Montreal, 
1 3th May," thanking him for the trouble he had 
taken about Sir John's coat-of-arms. She says: 

" I always liked the idea of a 52nd [soldier] and an 
Indian, or rather, a backwoodsman ; that is, an emigrant 
with an axe.* Sir John says, with regard to the fees, 
' Well, if that is not paying for a fool's cap, I don't know 
what is.' 

" There is to be a very grand review on the Queen's 
birthday. It will be a finer sight than they have ever had ; 
between 5,000 and 6,000 men. We must have a ball in 
the evening. Sir John has had intimation of a ship coming 
for [the political convicts], so I hope soon our jail will be 
emptied and the gallows down. I do so hate passing it, 
almost within reach of one's hand, in one of our best drives. 

" I cannot think there is any chance of anything 
definitive settled on for Canada in time for Sir John to 
leave the country this summer. I do not, indeed, think 
that, having seen through so much of it, he would like to 

* Sir John Colborne eventually chose as his supporters a soldier of 
the 52nd and an American Indian. Sir John Moore in 1804 had 
chosen a soldier of the 52nd and one of the o,2nd Highlanders (two 
soldiers of that regiment having saved his life in 1799 at Egmont-op- 
Zee). Sir Harry Smith in 1846 chose a soldier of the 52nd and one 
of the 95th (his own regiment). 


relinquish his post till some entire change precluded his 
continuing. He would then, with pleasure, resign all into 
the hands of whatever great man may come out. Though 
I am sure we ought not to be discontented whilst he is so 
very well, so constant in his exercise, good appetite, good 
sleeping, excellent spirits. It is quite a mercy that being 
obliged to see so much company, he is one seldom to be 
annoyed by it. Indeed, it seems to me he enjoys it, unless 
he happens to get two stiff ladies each side of him, and 
even the evening parties which we have about once a fort- 
night, with the bands of the different regiments, he seems 
to like as well as the others. The great drawback here 
is the impossibility of saving much." 

The following letter, written by Sir John Colborne 
early in August to the new Colonial Secretary, Lord 
Normanby, is a reply to a notification that the 
Government proposed to supersede him as 
Governor-General, but desired to retain his 
services as Commander of the Forces. As will 
be seen, this appeared to Sir John a preposterous 
and impossible demand : 

" I have received your lordship's letter, and hasten to 
assure you that I am prepared to receive Lord [Dun- 
fermline], and to render him all the assistance in my 
power. Were it possible that I could remain in this 
country with advantage to the public, and with credit and 
satisfaction to myself in descending from the high office I 
at present hold in this colony, there is no civil governor 
that could have been selected with whom I should act with 
greater pleasure than Lord [Dunfermline] or with a fairer 
prospect of our relative duties being carried on agreeably, 
from my long friendship and acquaintance with several 
members of his family.* But I am persuaded that, on 

* James Abercromby, third son of Sir Ralph, was Speaker of the 
House of Commons, 1835 May, 1839. On his retirement he was 
created Baron Dunfermline. 

1839-] RECALLED. 313 

reflecting on the prominent part which I have taken in the 
affairs of Canada, under circumstances most distressing and 
extraordinary, your lordship will concur with me in thinking 
that a request from Her Majesty's Government that I 
should remain in that country after the arrival of my suc- 
cessor is an unreasonable proposal. I beg, therefore, that 
your lordship will have the goodness to obtain for me Her 
Majesty's permission to take my departure in the vessel 
which brings out the new Governor-General to Quebec. 
The Province is perfectly quiet, and I have not the least 
doubt that it will continue undisturbed. Trie American 
patriots have neither the means, nor, at present, the inclina- 
tion, to encourage excitement or renew the system of 
depredation and outrage which prevailed on the frontier 
of the adjacent states for so long a period." 

Colborne sent the above letter to Lord Fitzroy 
Somerset with the letter following : 

"pth August, 1839. 

" My dear Lord, I transmit to you the copy of a private 
letter which I have written to Lord Normanby. 

" I am confident that Lord Hill will be of opinion that 
I could not remain in this country after being deposed. 
The work which I had to perform in my civil [government] 
has brought me in contact with so many political char- 
acters that I cannot suppose Ministers would wish that a 
Governor-General, the stern judge presiding over " duris- 
sima regna"* should descend from his seat and stand 

* Colborne probably had in mind a speech delivered by Mr. Roebuck 
in the Court of Queen's Bench on i6th January, 1839, in the case of 
some political prisoners, tried in Canada on 8th March, 1838. Mr. 
Roebuck said : " In all the law-books he had not found any descrip- 
tion of judgment like the one by which the prisoners had been 
subjected to detention except in 77. Institutes, and Lord Coke uses 
this remarkable expression respecting it : he says, ' A philosophical 
poet of antiquity had nobly described the damnable and damned 
proceedings of the judge in hell : Gnossius haec Rhadamanthus habet 
durissima regna: Castigatque auditque dolos subigitque faterl: and 
also fixit leges pretio atque refixit : first he punisheth, then he 
heareth, and lastly he compelleth to confess, making and marring 
laws at his pleasure, which all good judges must abhor. ' " 


behind his amiable, conciliating, propitiating successor, 
whilst he is introducing the golden age which must 
naturally follow the recently-disturbed state into which 
this Province was thrown by the ambition and intrigues 
ot a faction which has been destroyed. I am by no means 
contending that Ministers have not rightly decided, and 
probably for the benefit of the Province, but that my posi- 
tion should be fairly considered, though I have been 
accidentally appointed Governor-General. I am, however, 
inclined to believe that the union of the Provinces should 
have taken place under my superintendence, and that the 
permanent viceroy would have made his appearance with 
more advantage after I had given effect to that measure."* 

From Lady Colborne^ enclosing copies of the above 

" Sorel, 

" 1 2th August 

" It is beginning to get about here. One calls it 
' appalling news for the poor Provinces/ Yet no one 
thinks, of the few who know it, that he could have 
remained in the other situation. The letter to Lord 
Fitzroy Somerset is exactly what he thinks, and I think 
what he thinks ought to be known. 

" I will send you what the Herald of to-day, the 1 3th, 
says of the Report. He is not complimentary to Sir John 
in general, from his not being ultra in his doings with the 
Canadians, but now he finds he is going, he speaks the 
truth. It is gratifying certainly to hear how all the loyal 
speak of it. Another wrote : ' All was going well, and 
would have continued so. Now in two years we shall 
have general and open rebellion again/ " 

* Colborne wrote to Lord Hill on iyth September in the same strain : 
" Can you imagine a more painful situation than for the present 
Governor of these Provinces to relinquish his post to remain in 
Canada under the [command?] of his successor, to witness the 
gradual introduction of the milder sway which must naturally follow 
the iron reign of last year, and to receive the maledictions of the 
disturbers of society who have been repressed ? " 


From Lady Colborne. 

" Sorel, 

" 24th August. 

" Everything just as uncertain as before. The expected 
person does not come, so here we are ; Sir John, after all 
his work, &c. (and Canada, too) made the sport of a set of 
men without sufficient firmness or principle to know what 
to do, and willing to sacrifice everything to their own party 
feelings. Perhaps they will find someone in December, 
and expect us to leave at a moment's notice in January, 
as we did from Toronto. I now dare think nothing of 
our return. 

" Sir John's going seems a perfect secret in England. 
Perhaps Sir John will get into a scrape for letting it out 
here, yet we could not set off without preparations. The 
lord thought of was Dunfermline, late Mr. Abercrombie, 
who has refused. Lord Normanby says the only reason 
for this plan was the desire of himself and his colleagues 
to have someone of recent political character personally 
known to themselves in preparation for the Union, and 
talks of the inestimable importance of Sir John's remaining 
the next winter as Commander of the Forces, and the 
intense anxiety with which he waits his answer. 

" They will get his whole plan of government, sent off as 
his duty to the Provinces when he thought he was going 
immediately, and his answer about the suspended judges. 
What will the answer be? Perhaps that he is to be 
brought home in chains! 

" Company of an evening he cannot bear now. Works 
at night, and then he is cheerful and in spirits ; never 
fagged beyond what half an hour's rest recovers him from ; 
but how can this go on ? " 

From Lady Colborne. 
" Sorel, 

" 1 4th September. 
" Last night came a private note from Lord Normanby 


to say that Mr. Poulett Thompson is the Governor-General, 
and will be publicly announced by the next packet ! " 

The following letter from the fallen Colonial 
Secretary, Lord Glenelg, shows that in spite of his 
notorious errors as Colonial Secretary, he was not 
without magnanimity: 

" London, 

" 2 ist August, 1839. 

" Sir, The closing of the parliamentary session gives 
me an opportunity of taking leave by letter of several 
friends with whom I have been officially connected with 
the colonies [sic] ; and although I cannot claim the privi- 
lege of a private friendship with you, I am unwilling that 
our official relations should cease without expressing to you 
the sentiments of esteem and regard towards you which 
they have left impressed on my mind, nor without offering 
my warm and sincere wishes for your health and happiness. 
Believe me, Sir, with great truth, your faithful servant, 


" Lieutenant-General Sir J. Colborne, G.C.B., 
" Governor-General, &c., &c." 

Sir John Colborne replied as follows : 

" 1 5th October, 1839. 

" My Lord, I have had the pleasure of receiving your 
letter of the 2ist August 

" I beg to assure your lordship that I shall ever recollect 
with satisfaction the period of our official connection, and 
that I feel greatly obliged for the kindness, attention and 
support which I received from you in our official relations 
in times of extraordinary trial. Your faithful servant, 


In September Sir John Colborne was empowered 
to invest a distinguished officer, Lieutenant-General 


James Macdonell, with the K.C.B. Mr. Henry 
remarks : 

"With much grace and propriety one eminent 
soldier was thus the royal representative in con- 
ferring this honour on another gallant companion-in- 
arms ; and that well-tried sword which had led the 
52nd to victory on many a hard-fought field and 
finally waved before them when they routed a 
column of Napoleon's Guard on the evening of 
iWaterloo, was now most fitly employed in bestowing 
knighthood on the stalwart and indomitable defender 
of Hougomont."* 

From Sir John Colborne. 
" Montreal, 

"2;th September, 1839. 

" We have now a fair prospect of being at Plymouth 
before the end of November. . . . We may look for 
the ' Pique ' in the St. Lawrence early in October. Having 
applied for my [return] home in the vessel that brings out 
the new Governor-General, I conclude that the captain of 
the ' Pique ' will have received orders to take me and my 
family to England. I think we may probably embark 
before the 1 5th of next month. I cannot regret that the 
fates have decreed that I am to leave this country of dis- 
cord and vexation. If I had had fair play and the Minis- 
ters might have been depended on to give their full 
support to my measures, the office of Governor-General 
could have been held by me at this critical period with a 
prospect of a favourable result But I am persuaded I 
should have been removed whenever it suited their con- 
venience, and perhaps under circumstances less satisfactory 
than those which have caused my removal at this period. 
Everyone agrees that I could not remain as a deposed 
Governor and Commander of the Forces, and as my ser- 

* W. Henry, II., pp. 347. 348. 


vices have not been withdrawn in consequence of my own 
wish to return to England, I have no reason to accuse 
myself of backing out of a bad affair at a time when I 
might have been usefully employed." 

From Lady Colborne. 

" Montreal, 

" 1 4th October. 

" We shall receive Mr. Thompson into the house here, 
and when we leave Montreal, go at once on board the 
frigate at Quebec without landing. 

" You will see Sir John happy and contented, though 
certainly not -flattered or gratified by the conduct of the 
Ministry, though Sir John is the first to say, and also feels, 
he cannot complain if they think they are doing the best 
for the Province, which of course they do." 

On the 1 7th October Mr. Poulett Thompson 
(afterwards Lord Sydenham) arrived, and two days 
later assumed office. 

On the 23rd Sir John Colborne left Canada, 
having first been invested with the G.C.B. as a 
reward for his services. By an interesting coin- 
cidence he received this honour at the hands 
of Sir James Macdonell, whom he had himself so 
recently invested with the K.C.B., and who had 
been granted special authority to confer it. 

Mr. Henry writes : " An affecting scene took 
place at Montreal when Sir John Colborne took his 
final departure. A large concourse of the British 
population, with a most numerous military staff, 
escorted him to the wharf, and on his embarkation, 
bade the veteran and venerable chief ' farewell ' in 
peals upon peals of loud, affectionate and prolonged 
cheering. When at length the voice of the last 


assemblage was dying away, a man perched on a 
mast exclaimed, ' One cheer more for the colonel of 
the 52nd !' This touched a new chord of stirring 
recollection in the heart of the multitude, and the 
acclamation was instantly resumed as loud as ever. 

" Finally, on the 23rd October, Sir John and his 
family embarked on the ' Pique/ at Quebec, under 
a salute from the citadel and the. shipping. The 
frigate got under way soon after ; encountered a 
terrific thunderstorm the same night, by which her 
foretopmast was struck; but the lightning glanced 
harmlessly from the ship, for the laurelled head she 
bore was not destined to be thus laid low, and the 
' Pique ' proceeded down the St. Lawrence amidst 
the regrets and good wishes of every loyal and 
honourable man in Canada," 

Kingsford thus passes judgment on Colborne's 
eleven years' service in Canada : 

" As Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada he 
acted with great caution and ability. Had Sir John 
Colborne filled no other position his name would be 
simply added to the list of many who for a short or 
long time perform an important duty, to be forgotten 
in a few months on their departure from the Pro- 
vince. The service he rendered to Canada was 
after his appointment as Commander of the Forces, 
during the governments of Lords Gosford and 
Durham, and his position of administrator and 
of Governor-General until the arrival of Lord 

" In this trying period Sir John Colborne showed 
himself to be the possessor of the qualities especially 
called for in the crisis, an unwavering sense of duty, 


firmness of purpose, willingness to assume responsi- 
bility, and a sense of the necessity of acting with 
vigour, determination and moderation. His pre- 
sence totally changed the situation in Quebec and 
Montreal, for it gave confidence to all who were 
Veady to risk life and fortune in the defence of the 
institutions on which they based their liberties, 
prosperity and happiness. On all sides his personal 
character and ability were made manifest; he 
gained, as by magic, the confidence of the supporters 
of the government. Failure was experienced in 
none of his combinations. 

" It must ever be one of the most satisfactory events 
in Canadian history that at the close of the first 
rebellion of 1837 not a single execution took place. 
The endeavour on the part of the authorities was to 
throw a veil over the past. In this effort Sir John 
Colborne was a prominent actor. 

"When, in spite of the merciful treatment of all 
who had taken part in the first revolt, the second 
rebellion of 1838 broke out, there arose the feeling 
that the law must be vindicated. The emergency 
was met by Colborne with that sense of duty which 
was a part of his character. The foolish amiability 
springing from the false sentiment of unwillingness 
to vindicate society at the cost of individual suffering 
has no place in the mind of the true statesman. It 
in no way operated on Colborne's sense of duty, not 
from hardness of heart or remorselessness of purpose, 
for his heart was most humane and full of kindly 
emotions. His assent to the twelve executions 
following the court-martial, given with great pain, 
may be traced to the sense of the necessity of 


example. The number pardoned by Sir John 
Colborne shows the sentiment of humanity he was 
ready to exercise. The recognition by the Imperial 
Government of his services was only the just reward 
of his patriotism, his worth, his devotion to duty, 
and his entirely successful grappling with the 
difficulties that lay in his path. He crushed the 
hydra of rebellion. Except for the hope of aid 
from the United States, and the encouragement to 
those engaged in it given by men of mistaken views 
in England, it would not, after 1837, have again 
raised its head. When, however, the insurrection 
was repeated in 1838, in a week it was ended." 1 * 

Concerning one special benefit which Colborne 
conferred on Canada, Mr. R. E. Kingsford, M.A., 
LL.B. (son of the historian), writes to me as follows : 
:< There is no act of Sir John Colborne's in Canada 
which has had more lasting influence than his founda- 
tion of Upper Canada College. If you have never 
been in Canada it is very hard for you to understand 
what a difference the foundation of the College made 
in our national history. At a time when, owing to 
the recent settlement of the country, superior educa- 
tion was almost unobtainable, this College was 
founded, and for years it was the only large school 
where a really first-class education could be got. 
No single act of any governor in Canada did more 
for the Empire than the foundation of the College. 
The boys educated there have always been trained 
to be loyal to the Crown, and at the same time never 

* Kingsford, X., pp. 203 205 (condensed). 




to forget their own country. As Sir John Colborne 
planted, so has the tree grown." 

To these eulogies of Sir John Colborne's public 
qualities may be appended a recognition of the 
beneficial character of his private life. " In all those 
governments in which he became the head of 
English society, there never failed to be felt the 
beneficial influence of a cheerful, joyous family and 
household, hospitable to travellers, courteous to all, 
charitable to the poor, ready for all innocent gaiety 
or festivity, and strict in all religious practices. The 
influence on society may be understood when it was 
long after remembered that, on some idle wonder 
being expressed that the Governor went to church 
on foot instead of in his carriage, he replied that ' his 
servants had souls as well as himself.' And when 
he refuted a report of a rude answer enforced by an 
oath, which had been imputed to him, he could do so 
by simply saying, ' The Commander-in-Chief never 
swears/ "* 

Bishop Bethune, a representative of Canadian 
conservatism, writes : 

" Sir John Colborne was every inch a soldier ; 
and events proved that he was rarely at fault when 
called upon to discharge the duties of the profession 
to which he had given his best years. He was a 
man, too, of pure and honourable mind ; with 
decided religious impressions ; and most anxious for 
the welfare and advancement of the Church of 
England, to which he belonged."f 

* Christian Remembrancer, October, 1867. 
^Memoir of Bishop Strachan, p. 130. 

( 323 ) 





ON the 1 7th November Sir John Colborne and his 
family landed at Plymouth, and at the same time 
received the news of the death of Mrs. Yonge, Lady 
Colborne's mother, which had occurred on the 2nd. 
She was in her 8oth year. They proceeded to 
Lyneham, near Plympton, a country house within a 
few miles of Puslinch, Lady Colborne's early home, 
and at this time the home of the Reverend John 
Yonge, her brother, and his wife, Alethea, Lord 
Seaton's half-sister. Before the end of the month 
Sir John, who was then in London, learnt that his 
services were to be rewarded by the grant of a 
barony and a pension of ^2,000 a year for three 
lives. The Gazette of 6th December announced 
that his title would be " Baron Seaton, of Seaton, in 
the County of Devon."* This was faute de 
mieux; for Sir John's strong wish to be " Lord 
Colborne " had been rendered impossible by the 
transformation of Mr. Ridley Colborne into " Lord 

* The choice of the title seems to have been due to an intention on 
Sir J. Colborne's part of buying a property near Seaton an intention 
not fulfilled. 

M 2 

324 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XX. 

Colborne of West Harling " six months before. On 
the Qth the new peer visited the Queen at Windsor, 
and on the i6th January took his seat, his supporters 
being his old comrades, Lord Lynedoch (Sir 
Thomas Graham) and Lord Strafford, who, as 
" Sir John Byng," had commanded the Brigade of 
Guards at Waterloo. 

On the occasion of this or some later visit to the 
House of Lords an incident occurred which I give in 
the touching words of Lord Seaton's surviving 
daughter, Lady Montgomery- Moore : 

"As my father and mother were once going to the 
opening or closing of Parliament (I think), all my father's 
orders and ribbons were laid out on a table. He took 
two, and when my mother asked him to put on some others 
he said hastily and half-contemptuously, ' No, no.' Mrs. 
Stephen Moore, who was present, said, 'You ought to be 
proud of these things/ and he just looked back as he was 
going through the door, with his peculiar sweet meaning 
smile, and said, ' You don't know that I am not too proud 
of them.' It made a great impression on me, child as I 
was, and now I see it as part of his wonderfully disciplined 

On the 27th March, 1840, the House of Lords 
discussed the Royal Message in regard to the 
proposed grant to Lord Seaton. 

Lord Melbourne believed there was only one 
exception to the general approbation of the course 
taken, and that was centred in the person of the 
noble lord himself, who had expressed doubts that 
the services which he had performed were of 
sufficient merit to render him worthy of the honours 
that her Majesty had bestowed, and whether, under 
the circumstances, he was warranted in accepting 

1839-40.] CREATED LORD SEATON. 325 

them. He believed that that doubt was not shared 
by any other man in the community. 

The Duke of Wellington said that at all times and 
under all circumstances Lord Seaton had given 
promise, now so nobly fulfilled, of distinguished 
ability, gallantry and zeal. He should most 
willingly vote for the Address; he never gave a 
vote with greater satisfaction. 

The Duke of Richmond spoke as one who had 
served under Lord Seaton. He said that when he 
first heard of the rebellion in Canada it was a great 
consolation to him to know that he who had com- 
manded the 52nd Light Infantry in the Peninsula 
that he who had gained the respect and affection of 
the inhabitants of the district in which his troops 
were quartered by the sense of justice which 
actuated all his proceedings in regard to the former 
and by the discipline he maintained among the 
latter that he who was beloved and revered by the 
soldiers and officers who had the honour to serve 
under his command that such a man was then the 
Commander of Her Majesty's Forces. He believed 
that Lord Seaton had as strong claims on the 
gratitude of his country as any man then alive. 

The House of Commons discussed the grant on 
the 30th March. 

After Lord John Russell had recounted Lord 
Seaton's services, Sir Robert Peel said it was 
a proud distinction, not only to Sir J. Colborne, 
but to the army, that for so many years he 
had been connected with the army and in it 
learnt to exhibit in his decisions the most 
discreet and moderate and humane conduct. 

326 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XX. 

The manner in which he performed his duty in 
Guernsey led him (Sir Robert) at that time to form 
an opinion that however limited the sphere in which 
he was then acting, yet from the universal satis- 
faction given by his prudence, discretion, temper 
and humanity, if ever called on to act in a more 
extended sphere, he would support the character 
which he then obtained. 

After Mr. Hume had spoken against the motion, 
Sir Henry Hardinge said if he were asked what was 
the most remarkable characteristic of Sir John 
Colborne he should say it was that of divesting 
himself of all personal and selfish considerations 
more than any man he knew. 

Sir Hussey Vivian said no man was more beloved 
in the army, nor was there any man of whose 
humanity he had heard greater encomiums. 

The motion was carried by 82 to 16. 

The grant of the peerage and pension was 
generally applauded, as it was felt that Sir John 
Colborne's well- devised and energetic measures had 
saved Lower Canada to the British Crown. 

Lord Seaton was in London during most of the 
"season" of 1840. On the 2Oth May we find him 
riding with the Duke of Wellington; on the 2ist 
he received the freedom of the City. About the 
same time he was presented with a magnificent 
piece of plate by merchants of London engaged in 
trade with Canada. On the i8th June he attended 
the Waterloo banquet at Apsley House, when the 
Duke of Wellington proposed his health in flattering 
terms. He attended a levee on ist July and spoke 
in the House of Lords on the Clergy Reserves Bill 


(Canada) on 3rd August. Among the friends and 
persons of interest with whom he dined were the 
Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Lord John 
Russell, Mr. Justice Coleridge, Sir James Kempt, 
Sir W. Heathcote, Sir R. Inglis, Lord Fitzroy 
Somerset, Sir Charles des Voeux, Lord Liverpool 
and the Duke of Cambridge, while at the Duke of 
Wellington's table on I3th August he met all the 
foreign ambassadors. 

On 1 8th August Lord and Lady Seaton left 
London, and after visiting Oxford, Cheltenham, 
Gloucester, Tintern, Clifton, Sidmouth and Tor- 
quay, found themselves once more at Lyneham on 
2nd September. 

The following letters of this time were written to 
Colonel William Napier after the reading of the 
sixth volume of Napier's History of the Peninsular 

" Lyneham, 

"26th October, 1840. 

" My dear Napier, -You will think me a most ungrateful 
old soldier for not having sooner returned you my best 
thanks for your sixth volume of your labours. But I must 
acquaint you in my defence that before I left London I 
intended to pay you a visit en route, or in my search for a 
bouse in the neighbourhood of Bath or Bristol. That 
pleasure, however, I afterwards was unexpectedly obliged 
to defer. 

" I did not read the campaigns of 1813 and 1814 till my 
arrival at this quiet place, where my whole attention was 
for some weeks absorbed in the study of them. I read 
with much delight and benefit the account of the 
operations of Soult in his attempt to relieve Pampeluna. 
The whole of the inarches of the columns by the passes of 
Maya and Roncesvalles were, in fact, new to me. I knew 

328 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XX. 

nothing of the defensive movements of Hill, Cole and 
Byng. They all appear to have turned into their right 
places at last miraculously. Both armies, on their retreats, 
were certainly within a few hours of destruction. A little 
more enterprise and knowledge would have settled our 
affairs for that campaign. The details of the accidents 
and mistakes which occurred on both sides are very 
interesting and curious. Although we were so much con- 
cerned in the movements from the positions before 
Bayonne to Toulouse, I did not exactly comprehend them 
till I had followed the different columns in your history. 
Soult, I think, lost many opportunities of making an 
example of some of our columns on the march before and 
after Orthes. He was too much perplexed and alarmed, 
and managed badly. Your observations on the movements 
are fair, and ought to be satisfactory to the Commanders- 

" The attack on the position of Toulouse was, I always 
thought, undertaken with numbers inadequate to the work. 
The part which the Spaniards had to perform would have 
been too hard for any two of our divisions. I have no 
doubt that Soult might have made a brilliant affair if he 
had attacked at the time the Spaniards failed, and turned 
on the Light Division ; provided he had watched the 
march of your favourite general* closely, and opposed 
him with two divisions or three, while he was preparing 
to ascend. 

" I was surprised to find in London how many civilians 
had read your work. I sat next to Lord John Russell on 
the Queen's birthday. He asked me whether I had read 
Napier's History, and after some remarks I told him that 
I believed you regretted that you had entered so much 
into the details of the movements, as the controversial 
publications had occasioned much extra work. He 
replied, ' But the details are very interesting/ 

" It is impossible to please all parties. I wish, however, 
that you had avoided some of the observations of the kind 

* Beresford ? 


which Caesar says should be shunned as rocks by an 
historian. I heard many remarks in respect to your harsh 
judgment on Adam, (I mean as to his capacity for civil 
affairs), which his friends and enemies thought was 

" You will be surprised to hear that the Duke had for- 
gotten that he had given, or permitted you to have, a 
volume of the intercepted correspondence, when it was 
applied for a few months since. ... I understood that 
he had not read your work, and says he never will read it. 

" I have not yet decided in what county I shall settle, or 
whether I shall take up my residence in this part or near 
town. I do not think I shall be employed, or that I shall 
have an opportunity of taking your little boy under my 
charge in Ireland. 

. . . With my kindest regards to Mrs. Napier, 
and many thanks for your book and what you say of me in 
it, Believe me, sincerely yours, 


"It must be gratifying to you, after your hard labours, 
the wide circulation of your history, and the sensation 
which it has made and the manner in which it is quoted." 

" Lyneham, 

" 1 4th November, 1840. 

" My dear Napier, . . . The constant occupations 
of the Duke^ and the state of excitement in which he is 
kept by his political party, and his desire to retain his 
influence and necessary application to the subjects on 
which he speaks when he takes the lead, tend to shake 
him and wear him down perceptibly, and to make 
him a very old man in every respect. But the beauty of 
his character, his rectitude and good intentions, are always 
conspicuous, notwithstanding his occasional petulance and 

* Sir F. Adam (of "Adam's Brigade"), when High Commissioner 
of the Ionian Islands (18241831), had come in sharp conflict with 
Charles Napier, then Resident of Cephalonia. 

330 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XX. 

ill humour and the convulsive attacks to which he is liable 
from the kind of life he is compelled to lead and his great 
inattention to his health. 

" I have been for many years altogether so absorbed by 
my own concerns, plans and schemes connected with 
colonial objects, emigration and schools, and the daily 
occurrences and mortifications to which all good Governors 
are exposed, that I have had little time or inclination to 
keep pace with the current history of the potentates 
of the Ionian Islands, and of the oppressors and oppressed. 
Adam, I believe you know, has never been popular, 
and is disliked by many who have served with him and 
under him, but I think your friends and supporters regret 
that you have touched on his conduct and capacity in your 
history, as to his evil deeds and employments unconnected 
with the period in which he is brought forward. 

" I cannot recollect where I have met with the observa- 
tion or maxim which I attributed to Caesar it cannot, I 
think, be from him directly. I am persuaded, however, 
that I have met with it in some author, that ' it was the rule 
of Caesar to abstain from initiating personal remarks, as 
he would be careful vitare scopulos.' 

" ... We shall have no war [with France, on the 
Syrian question]. I agree with you as to our helpless 
state and bad prospects. Sincerely yours, 


On 23rd March, 1841, Lord.Seaton and his 
family removed from Lyneham to Kitley, a larger 
house at a mile or two's distance, and still closer to 
Puslinch, the home of Lady Seaton's brother. A 
month later he writes of his new home with 
enthusiasm : " Kitley is certainly the most beautiful 
place in the county." 

Lord Seaton again attended the " Waterloo 
banquet" on the i8th June. In November he 
met at Plymouth on different occasions two 


distinguished men about to sail for distant parts 
of the Empire Lord Ellenborough, the 
new Governor-General of India, and George 
Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of New 

Lord Seaton spent the winter of 1842-3 abroad. 
Accompanied by his eldest son, he left Kitley on 4th 
October for London, and on the nth crossed from 
Shoreham to Havre. The following is the itinerary 
of the tour: I2th October, Rouen; I3th, Vernon; 
I4th, Paris; i8th, Auxerre ; 2Oth, Chalons; 2ist, 
Lyons ; 23rd, Avignon ; 25th, Marseilles ; 27th, Tou- 
louse [seen probably for the first time since 1814]; 
3Oth, Frejus; 3ist, Antibes. ist November, Nice. 
1 6th January, Mentone ; i7th, Oneglia; i8th, 
Savona; iQth, Genoa; 22nd, Spezia; 24th, 
Pisa; 26th, Massa; 27th, Chiavesi; 28th, by 
Genoa to Novi; 29th, Turin; 3ist, St. Jean. 2nd 
February, Orbi ; 3rd, Neuchatel; 5th, Carlsruhe ; 
6th, Mannheim; 7th, Mayence ; 8th, Cologne; 9th, 
Liege; loth, Gand ; i2th, by Ostend to London. 

Lord Seaton had barely returned home when he 
was" appointed Lord High Commissioner of the 
Ionian Islands, and had another long journey before 

Leaving his family to follow some weeks later, he 
left London on loth March and reached Paris on 
the i3th. The following gives his route: I4th 
March, Fontainebleau ; I7th, Lyons; i8th, Avig- 
non; iQth, Aix; 20th, Marseilles; 2ist-22nd, by 
steamer to Genoa ; 23rd, Chiavesi ; 25th, Pisa ; 27th, 
embarked at Leghorn; 28th, passed Ostia, Capri, 
&c. ; 30th, landed at Messina; 3151, "arrived at 


Corfu half past 10 p.m. Disembarked at n and 
took possession of the palace." 

For the next six years the Old Palace, Corfu, was 
to be his home. 

The Ionian Islands had belonged to Venice until 
the extinction of the Venetian Republic in 1797. 
From this circumstance, though the population was 
Greek and belonged to the Greek Church, the 
language of society was Italian. In 1797 the 
islands were taken by the French, but in 1799 were 
re-conquered by the allied Russians and Turks. In 
1801 the islands were formed into " The Septinsular 
Republic," under the nominal protection of Turkey. 
The republic, from 1802, was controlled by a Russian 
plenipotentiary, and was by no means of a democratic 
kind, as the voters, or " synklitse," were only allowed 
to choose one candidate out of two offered to them 
by the government, the Senate of Corfu. After 
1806 the Republic was still more completely under 
Russian control, till a secret clause in the Treaty of 
Tilsit, 25th June, 1807, handed it over to the 
Emperor Napoleon. Marshal Berthier now occu- 
pied the islands and hoisted the French flag. In 
1809 a British force under Collingwood took 
possession of Zante and Cephalonia, and soon after, 
of Santa Maura and Ithaca. Corfu fell to England 
after Napoleon's fall in 1814, and the Treaty of 
Paris, 1815, sanctioned that British Protectorate of 
the whole group of islands which lasted till they 
were handed over to the Kingdom of Greece in 1863. 

From 1816 to 1824 Sir Thomas Maitland ruled 
the islands as Lord High Commissioner. He was 
the author of the Constitution under which the 

1797-1843-] HISTORY OF THE ISLANDS. 333 

islands were governed from 1817 till 1849. Under 
this Constitution the High Commissioner selected 
a " Primary Council," whose duty it was to draw up 
a "double list" of candidates from which the 
electorate were to choose the members of the Legis- 
lative Assembly. This packed Assembly nominated 
a Senate, but the High Commissioner could veto 
any senator. If he found it necessary to use his veto 
twice, he was to choose two names from which the 
Assembly was to select one for the vacant place. 
The Senate was the executive, but it was also a 
legislative body, as its consent as well as that of the 
High Commissioner was necessary to any bill passed 
by the Assembly. The President of the Senate, who 
had great powers, was chosen by the Lord High 
Commissioner, and only for two and a half years, 
while the other senators served for five years. The 
Senate could make provisional laws while the 
Assembly was not sitting and carry on the expendi- 
ture till a new budget was voted. The Lord High 
Commissioner could prorogue the Assembly at 

The Lord High Commissioner had the powers 
of " high police," in virtue of which, in case of 
emergency (of which he was sole judge), he could 
banish to some rock, or out of the islands altogether, 
anyone he pleased. Almost every Lord High 
Commissioner made use of these powers. 

Thus, while the lonians were still in name " one 
sole free and independent state," the power of 
the British Lord High Commissioner was made 
practically absolute. 

Lord Seaton entered on the office of Lord High 


Commissioner on ist April, 1843. " He came to 
Corfu," writes his antagonist, Sir George Ferguson 
Bowen, "with the prestige of his well-won rank 
and brilliant services as the gallant officer who led 
the assault on the French lines at Ciudad Rodrigo, 
who wheeled his brigade [sic] on the flank of the 
Imperial Guard at Waterloo, and who, as it was well 
said of him, trampled out the Canadian Rebellion 
with the iron heel of his boot. In appearance and 
bearing the very beau ideal of an English officer 
and gentleman, he possessed in his remarkably 
dignified carriage and manners no mean element of 
success in governing Orientals. His courtesy and 
hospitality will be attested by all who knew Corfu 
during his administration ; his laborious attention to 
public business and ready accessibility to every class 
are known to all who served under him."* 

During the first five years of his rule Lord Seaton 
hardly departed from the method of government 
established by his predecessors. His first parlia- 
ment, which met on the ist March, 1845, was chosen 
in the ordinary manner. " He permitted no free 
press nor any other expression of public opinion, 
while he carried out his own plans of moral 
and material improvement. He introduced some 
excellent measures. Education and schools pros- 
pered under his sway. [The colleges in Corfu and 
the other islands were revised and placed on the 
English system, and the ladies of his family 
endeavoured to raise the tone of education among 
the Greek girls, both of the upper and lower classes, 

* The Ionian Islands under British Protection , 2nd Ed., 1851, 
P- 39* 


by establishing a school with an English lady at its 
head who might endeavour to rouse them from their 
Levantine indifference.*] He conferred a very 
great boon on the poor inhabitants by the appoint- 
ment (as early as 1844) of district courts for the 
settlement of minor legal cases. He built an 
excellent prison. He endeavoured also to teach the 
Corfiots agriculture by making good laws regarding 
roads, and also by means of a model farm ; and 
though he failed in the latter object, the attempt 
was praiseworthy. His canal at Santa Maura is 
said to have cost ,28,000. If finished, it would 
greatly have facilitated the commerce of the islands, 
and Lord Seaton does not deserve to be condemned 
for attempting to carry out so useful a design."t 

Lord Seaton had for some time serving on his 
staff in Corfu H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, then 
Prince George of Cambridge. The following letter 
will show the esteem which the Prince felt for him : 

" London, 

" loth May, 1845. 

" My dear Lord Seaton, You have been so very kind to 
me ever since our first acquaintance, and I am so very much 
indebted to you for the favourable report you were so 
good as to make of me, that I cannot deprive myself of 
the pleasure of being the first to inform you that the 
Queen has been graciously pleased to promote me to the 
rank of major-general, the announcement of which 

* Christian Remembrancer, October, 1867. At Beechwood there are 
still preserved a great number of samplers, beautifully worked with 
texts in Greek or English, which testify to the assiduity of the Ionian 
school children in adopting the manners of English school children 
of the same date. 

f Viscount Kirkwall, Four Years in the Ionian Islands, I., pp. 162 


appeared in last night's Gazette, and the whole thing has 
been done in the most gracious and flattering manner to 
myself by all the parties concerned. I feel that this mark 
of favour has been almost entirely owing to the kind 
manner in which you have spoken of me and approved of 
my very humble services while I had the pleasure of 
serving under you, and I hope you will, therefore, again 
allow me to assure you that I feel deeply grateful to you, 
and that as long as I live I shall never forget the marked 
attention and kindness which I have on many occasions 
experienced at your hands. 

" I now look upon myself as a made man, by which I 
mean that I shall get on in the world. The rank was 
everything to me, and having once got that I look forward 
with certainty to an employment on the staff in the United 

"... There is again a strong report of a revolt in 
the autumn, but I cannot say whether there is any truth in 
it Of course at the Horse Guards it is denied, but that 
says nothing. . . . Your most sincere friend, 


The Ionian Constitution of 1817 had, as will have 
been seen, a deceptive character. While the Ionian 
Islands were, in the eye of international law, an 
independent state, their government had been trans- 
formed into the despotic rule of a British official 
This might have been patiently endured, so long 
as the islanders had no Power to look to which had 
any more claim on their affections than Great 
Britain. But the creation of the Kingdom of Greece 
in the twenties had changed the situation, and a 
national feeling, a desire to share the fortunes of 
their brothers-in-blood, sprang up in the islands, 
especially in Cephalonia, which had been less sub- 
ject to Italian influence than Corfu. Even the 

i8 4 3-8.] DESIRE FOR REFORMS. 337 

home Government seemed to think that some 
concession of political rights must be made if the 
lonians were to remain contented with British 
administration. Lord John Russell had written in 
June, 1840: "I should yield with much regret to 
the conviction that the time is still unripe for con- 
ceding to the Ionian people, to at least some extent, 
the advantages of greater freedom of the press and 
a more complete system of representation. It would 
not be to the honour of this country to have occupied 
the Ionian States for so many years without having 
advanced the inhabitants towards some qualification 
for institutions more liberal than those which were 
granted to them, avowedly as a mere preparation for 
such a change." 

The bloodless revolution which occurred at 
Athens in September, 1843, and which led to the 
granting of a Liberal Constitution by King Otto, 
encouraged that party in the Ionian Islands which 
desired a union with Greece. Cephalonia especially 
grew more unsettled. Lord Seaton, in spite of his 
Conservative predilections, came round to the view 
that the true course of British policy was to do what 
had become an act of justice while it could be done 
as an act of grace and not as one extorted by 
violence. The French Revolution of 1848, and its 
accompanying movements all over Europe, seem 
to have served as fresh arguments with him and with 
the home Government, for embarking on a policy 
of concession. 

Lord Seaton accordingly announced his intention 
to remove restrictions on a free press, a measure 
justified by the fact that Athenian newspapers had 


been never interdicted in the islands, and lately, 
owing to improved communications, had come in 
much more freely. Lord Seaton had indeed 
suggested a modification in the press laws as early 
as 1844. A bill for the removal of restrictions on 
the press was passed in June, 1848, and ratified at 
the end of the year, though no newspaper was 
published in the Ionian Islands before 1849. 

His next step was to provide for free election to 
municipal offices, which came into effect in May, 
1849. But already, in July, 1848, he had proposed 
changes in the direction of giving a more popular 
character to the legislative assembly. 

A disturbance in Cephalonia on 26th September 
caused Lord Seaton to proceed to the island, but 
neither this nor some doubts expressed by Lord 
Grey, the Colonial Minister, deterred him from the 
path he had chosen. He asked for an additional 
regiment from England, but proceeded with the 
preparation of his reforms. 

The chief points of the new system of government 
devised by Lord Seaton were : 

1. Perfect freedom of election as regards the 
members of the Assembly. 

2. Reduction of the qualification for the 

3. Vote by ballot. 

4. Trial by jury, in political cases only. 
The last arrangement is somewhat difficult to 

comprehend, and from the beginning it proved a 

The final reforms were passed in May, 1849, tne 
last month of Lord Seaton's tenure of office. His 

1848-9.] LORD SEATON'S REFORMS. 339 

successor, Mr. Henry Ward, took office on ist June, 
and it was left to him and to his successors to face 
the consequences of the new state of things. 

If those consequences were unsatisfactory to 
friends of the British Protectorate if the Greek 
party in the islands grew stronger and more 
unmanageable till Great Britain saw her best 
course in surrendering her rights (1863) Lord 
Seaton is not perhaps to be greatly blamed. The 
spirit of the age, the " nationalism " which came to 
play so great a part in Germany and Italy, was 
against the preservation of British connexion, even if 
it had remained safeguarded by the constitution of 
1817, and Lord Beaton's hope that his reforms would 
satisfy all legitimate aspirations and prove a bond of 
attachment to British rule was doomed to disappoint- 
ment, no less than the similar hopes entertained by 
the French reformers of 1789. 

He has been severely criticised by Viscount Kirk- 
wall (afterwards sixth Earl of Orkney) in Four 
Years in the Ionian Islands, and with more bitter- 
ness and animosity by Sir George Bowen^ in The 
Ionian Islands under British Protection. Those 
who would see his defence must turn to an article 
in the Edinburgh Review, January, 1853, which is 
from his own pen. We can only quote one or two 
sentences : " The reviewer [i.e., Bowen] expresses 
his surprise that so many important privileges should 
have been granted at the same time ; but we tell 

* Mr. Bowen, on a recommendation received from Oxford, had been 
appointed by Lord Seaton Rector of the University of Corfu. For this 
post Lord Seaton states that he showed himself at once unsuitable 
in spite of his high classical attainments. Mr. Bowen, in return, 
attacked Lord Seaton's policy with a good deal of personal animus. 


him that conceding by instalments is bad policy, and 
seldom succeeds when the proposed modifications of 
a Constitution are determined on and can be, with 
justice, claimed, and are expected and desired by the 
intelligent and loyal. The Government, by at once 
anticipating their wishes, establishes confidence and 

" There are assuredly many difficulties incident to 
the reforms, but they are not without their 

"In governing the people of the Ionian Islands 
common sense and sincerity are the essential 

" If a prosperous Greek kingdom should be 
witnessed rapidly growing to maturity under 
a real constitutional policy, it would, we are 
sure, be a matter of great rejoicing; and, ardently 
as every Englishman may desire that British colonies 
may be planted in every part of the earth to which 
they can carry the institutions and character of their 
native land, the prospect is scarcely more delightful 
than that the islands of the Ionian Seas should form 
a district of Greece, as soon as ever a prosperous and 
powerful Greek nation shall come into existence, fit 
and qualified to assist in maintaining the European 
balance of power and in diffusing the blessings of 

To these extracts may be appended part of a 
letter written by Lord Seaton from Livermead 
House on 2Oth September, 1849, to m ' s successor, 
Mr. Ward, who had written to say that having 
formed opinions at variance with Lord Seaton's he 
proposed to introduce another bill giving the High 


Commissioner more control, and asking Lord 
Seaton to explain his reasons for some of his actions : 

" I still can boast of being a Conservative in this 
country and in every other where there are institutions 
worth preserving, but, being a reasonable one, I can profit 
by the past, and from the knowledge which I imagine I 
have acquired in the offices I have held. When parts of 
a constitutional chart have become so almost objectionable 
and unsuited to circumstances that even the friends of 
existing government cannot openly venture to defend 
them, it becomes absolutely necessary to reflect well and 
deliberately on the probable results of the concessions 
which the governed have a right and are expected to 
demand, and then to grant at once all that is expedient 
and just to concede, instead of dealing with extorted con- 
cession after concession under the delusion that each 
requires a trial. The folly and madness of withholding 
rights under such circumstances, and afterwards making 
improper concessions, created in the colonies a gang of 
demagogues and made them formidable. The revolution 
of 1843 in Greece, and the Constitution forced from the 
king by the best of the Greeks, Athenian intercourse and 
Athenian papers, and the recent importation from Paris 
and the universities of Italy could not but produce a very 
great change in the society of Corfu. Whatever might 
have been my opinions in 1843 an d 1844, it is not extra- 
ordinary that they should have been modified by my 
constant communication with all classes and by my gradual 
acquaintance with the wishes and sentiments of the in- 
telligent friends of the protective government, and by the 
occurrences and changes in the neighbouring states. The 
series of events which took place in 1848 rendered more 
circumspection necessary perhaps, but it was by no means 
desirable that the changes which had been suggested 
should be delayed. Neither the president of the senate 
nor any honest Ionian pretended to defend the mockery 
of the representative government established. The 


Government Press must have given way ; for I cannot 
suppose that after a free Press had been permitted in 
Germany and Italy, the privilege could have been refused 
to the only community under our protection with a Con- 
stitution not possessing it. ... 

" I am persuaded that the liberal measures introduced 
lately in the islands will weaken the cause of the faction 
opposed to us in Greece and in the Ionian States, and 
enable the supporters of the Protective Government to 
hoist their colours, and conscientiously uphold their insti- 
tutions with more energy than has hitherto been shown; 
check the movement party, and tend to augment the 
influence which you appear so apprehensive of losing. . . 


Lord Kirkwall, who served on Sir Henry Ward's 
staff, writes : " It is astonishing that it never 
occurred to Lord Seaton that he was paving the 
way for the cession of the Protectorate and for the 
union of the islands with Greece.* . . . He did 
not perceive that the great mass of the lonians cared 
little for reforms, and desired only the Union. Yet 
he might have suspected that a people who were so 
apparently indifferent to the exercise of the despotic 
high police powers could not really care much for 
liberty as understood by Englishmen. . . . 
Orthodoxy and nationalism . . . have ever 
been hitherto the two levers by which the Ionian 
demagogues raised the passions of the people and 
acquired their affections. . . . Lord Seaton 
paved the way for the Union by rendering 
impossible, for any useful purpose, the continu- 
ance of their Protectorate. ... It will now be 

* The last extract, quoted above, from Lord Seaton's Edinburgh 
article shows that he clearly saw this to be a possible result, but it was 
a result which he contemplated with equanimity. 


evident to the reader why the Ionian Liberals, that 
is, the lonians generally, cherish with enthusiastic 
affection the memory of Lord Seaton ; and also why 
the Protectionists, whether Ionian or English, have 
always severely condemned his conduct. Person- 
ally, the gallant and noble lord was exceedingly 
popular with all who came in contact with him. His 
high character, distinguished name, noble appear- 
ance, and affable manners could not but make a 
favourable impression. . . . Not the least of 
the benefits conferred on the lonians by Lord 
Seaton was the effect of the high character and 
unimpeachable private conduct of his lordship and 
his amiable family during their stay in the islands."* 

* I., pp. 181 184. 

( 344 ) 



ON 2nd June, 1849, Lord Seaton and his family left 
Corfu amid a striking demonstration of affection. 
Before returning to England they made an extended 
tour on the Continent, the itinerary embracing 
Trieste, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Hanover, 
where Lord Seaton dined with the King on ist July, 
Cologne, Aix, Brussels. From Brussels Lord 
Seaton paid two visits to the field of Waterloo 
which he had not seen since 1815 and found that 
the circumstances of the day came back to him with 
startling freshness. It was no doubt with pleasure 
that he told the old tale on the historic scene to his 
wife, his eldest son, and his daughters. 

After a month in London Lord and Lady Seaton 
spent the winter at Livermead House, Torquay. 
From here, on I2th December, 1849, ne wrote a 
letter to his son, Captain the Hon. Francis Colborne, 
1 5th Regiment, then at the Depot, Brecon, on some 
of the duties of a good commanding officer. 

" The great and principal objects to be attended to are 
the really important affairs, by which a regiment or corps 


is kept in good order and discipline, and the officers and 
men in good humour, and not to bother with trifles, nor to 
interfere in matters in which you have not full power to 
direct and control. 

" The hospital and guard-house should be under constant 
inspection, so that the men and officers may know that 
you take an interest in their daily concerns, and that 
punishments are inflicted with justice. All this is trouble- 
some at the first throw off, but in reality saves much 
vexation and embarrassment, after a good system is 
established and the men have confidence in the justice 
of the commanding officer; who must never be in a 
passion, and never commit himself by a hasty expression. 
With such resolutions, and giving each subject a calm 
consideration, he will find himself always in the right, and 
on the high and advantageous ground. You, I am sure, 
have frequently seen that a foolish, vain commanding 
officer can spoil a regiment in a month. 

" You may depend on it, that when officers are aware 
that the commander works hard and knows his business, 
they wdll support him. He must, however, repose great 
confidence in officers commanding companies, or, at least, 
appear to consult them, and to give them full swing in the 
arrangements in barracks. 

" The details of the field exercise must be constantly 
studied. An officer with common capacity may become a 
good drill with practice and knowing the principles of our 
field exercise ; and yet, how rarely do we meet officers up 
to their business in this respect ! Every officer of the 52nd 
could work a regiment in the field perfectly, because he 
was compelled to begin early and frequently tried." 

Lord and Lady Seaton went to London for the 
season of 1850, and settled in August in a new 
home, Deer Park, near Honiton. On the I2th 
February, 1851, their eldest son, James (afterwards 
second Lord Seaton) was married to Charlotte, 

346 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XXI. 

younger daughter and co-heiress of Lord Downes. 
Lord Downes, as Ulysses Burgh, had had a dis- 
tinguished Peninsular career, but strange to say, at 
that time he and Colborne had never met. 

Lord and Lady Seaton again spent the season in 
London, and on the i8th June Lord Seaton was again 
present at a " Waterloo banquet." In August they 
stayed ten days at Ryde, afterwards visiting Otter- 
bourne, the home of Captain W. Crawley Yonge, and 
Lyndhurst, close to the scenes of Lord Seaton's 
childhood. On the igth they were back at Deer 

From Deer Park Lord Seaton wrote, on " St. 
Patrick's Day," 1852: 

" I am employed in writing an article intended for a 
Review on parts of our defective military organization." 

The article appeared in the Edinburgh Review 
in June, under the title " Our Defensive Arma- 
ment." Lord Seaton insists on the necessity of 
further strengthening the country against sudden 
invasion and praises Lord John Russell for the 
Militia Bill on which he had recently left office. 

" Since our economists," he says, " will not give 
us regular soldiers and sailors enough, we must 
be content with the next best force which we 
can get, and that is a militia." " Meanwhile, 
having got its militia, the Government will, in 
our opinion, act wisely if it take steps to put 
the fleet in an effective state. . v . In con- 
clusion we beg to observe that our views of this 
great question have been formed neither to-day nor 
yesterday. We have long felt that the country was 


helpless in case of sudden war. . . . We are 
satisfied that it is better to do little than to do 

Another letter of Lord Seaton's, of the i5th April, 
1852, shows us the impression made on him by the 
loss of the " Birkenhead," of which the news had 
just arrived from Cape Town. ' The account of 
it," he says, " can scarcely be read without tears." 

On the 1 8th June Lord Seaton was again present 
at a " Waterloo banquet " as it proved, the last 
ever held. Among other friends he there met his 
old comrade of the Light Division, Sir Harry Smith, 
who had lately returned to England from the Cape 
of Good Hope. In September he was at Malvern, 
and here heard the news of the great Duke's death. 
At the State Funeral on November i8th Lord 
Seaton was a pall-bearer. In a subsequent letter 
to his second son he described what he had seen and 
felt on the occasion : 

" Deer Park, 

"8th December, 1852. 

" On the morning of the funeral I arrived at the Horse 
Guards about 8. I found breakfast prepared, and met the 
military parties that were to proceed in mourning coaches. 
I was shown to my seat in the coach about 9, and was 
accompanied by Lord Londonderry, Maitland and Wood- 
ford. We arrived at St. Paul's about 12, but in conse- 
quence of the machinery for the removal of the coffin from 
the bier not having been previously tried we were detained 
at the entrance of the west door more than [an] hour, Lord 
Anglesey frequently exclaiming he had never been so cold 
in his life before. However, all the old boys bore the 
breeze well, and I have not heard that they suffered from 

348 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XXI. 

" When the procession moved towards the dome, led by 
the dean, clergy and choristers, the solemn scene was most 
impressive. I, as a pall-bearer, stood near the centre of 
the coffin during the service, with my back to the Ministers 
and House of Lords and in front of the Speaker and his 
House. The lowering into the grave and the gradual 
disappearance of the coffin amidst the attentive concern 
of 15,000 or 17,000 people, together with the grand and 
solemn music and prayers, and with the evidently affected 
expression of those immediately near the grave, was alto- 
gether the most impressive, solemn and affecting moment 
that I ever experienced. I was very much affected, and 
thought I should have been obliged to sit down. The 
formalities of the heraldic officials which followed, how- 
ever, had a different effect. I mean the breaking of the 
staff and the pompous announcement of the Duke's titles, 
so inapplicable to the present age. He was a very great 
and a very extraordinary man. We found our coaches 
easily, and I returned in company with Lord Combermere 
and Lord Londonderry and Sir C. Napier." 

Five days later Lord Seaton attended a dinner 
given by the new Commander-in-Chief, Lord 
Hardinge, of which he has left an interesting 
account : 

" I was invited to dine with the Commander-in-Chief 
on the 23rd November, 1852, to meet all the foreign 
generals. The dinner was given in the Premier's apart- 
ments in Downing-street. General Scharnhorst, the 
Prussian, came up to me after dinner, shook hands and 
said, ' I have watched you from this ' (putting his hand 
towards the ground) ' up to this date, and am delighted to 
find that you are liked and loved in all places.' Scharn- 
horst was with me in the Alemtejo in Portugal, when he 
was in the Hanoverian Artillery. He is a son of General 
Scharnhorst, who, with Stein, remodelled the Prussian 
army. Sir E. Blakeney sat near me, and reminded me 


that we had not met since 1813, at a very bad dinner at 
General Skerrett's, in bivouac in the Pyrenees."* 

Two years later the second Duke of Wellington 
sent Lord Seaton a memento of his illustrious father, 
with the following note : 

" Apsley House, 

";th July, 1855. 

" My dear Lord Seaton, I send you a sword that I have 
seen my father wear, well knowing the friendship and 
attachment which existed between you and him. Yours 



In the spring of 1853 Lord Seaton was confined 
to his house for many weeks by illness. After his 
recovery he visited Dittisham, of which his son, 
Graham, had lately become Rector, and there, on 
the 6th May, received a letter from Lord Hardinge, 
offering him the command of the camp to be formed 
at Chobham on I4th June. From Dittisham, with 
Lady Seaton, he paid a flying visit to Plymouth, 
where he was visited by Sir Harry Smith, then in 
command of the Western District. 

Lady Montgomery-Moore tells me of a previous 
meeting with Sir Harry and Lady Smith, whea Lady 
Smith apparently met her old Peninsular friend for 
the first time for 40 years. With the warmth of her 
Spanish nature she threw her arms round him and 
kissed him, crying, " Oh, Colborne, Colborne, to see 
you again ! " Both Sir Harry and his wife had an 
almost romantic affection for their old brigadier, and 
he though of a far more reserved nature warmly 
returned it. He said of Lady Smith, " In the most 

* See Autobiography of Sir Harry Smith, L, pp. 126 128. 

350 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XXI. 

trying circumstances for years [i.e., when as a girl- 
wife she followed the army in the Peninsula] no 
one could have behaved with more absolute dis- 
cretion. I have the greatest regard and admiration 
for her." 

On the 27th May Lord Seaton removed with his 
family to Hyams, near Bagshot, which was to be 
his home during the existence of the Chobham 
Camp of exercise. He dined with Lord Hardinge 
on the 28th, with the Queen on June 6th, and at 
Pembroke College, Oxford, on the Qth. 

At Lord Hardinge's table he had a discussion 
with General Burgoyne on Fergusson's scheme for 
the defence of Portsmouth by earthworks. He gives 
the following account of the conversation in a letter 
to Captain W. C. Yonge : 

" Hyams, Bagshot, 

"2Qth May, 1853. 

" I yesterday dined with Lord Hardinge, where I met 
the Duke of Cambridge, the major-generals, and all the 
heads of departments who are to be under my command 
during the Chobham campaign. Burgoyne placed himself 
next to me at dinner, and began immediately on the sub- 
ject of Fergusson's system, and mentioned that he was 
informed that I approved of his system and had expressed 
a decided opinion in its favour. I replied that I had only 
read The Perils of Portsmouth, and not his work on 
fortification, that I thought every new invention ought 
to have a fair trial and be tried, that the earthen works 
were generally commended by East Indian officers, that 
when there was a water power, and at Gosport and Ports- 
mouth, the line proposed by Fergusson appeared a for- 
midable barrier, although [I ?] considered there were 
several objections to the system, and that I had expressed 
no decided opinion as to its adoption, nor was I yet a 

1853-] CHOBHAM CAMP. 351 

sufficient judge of its merits. He told me in reply that he 
was employed in drawing up observations on its defects, 
that he could prove that 67 guns could be exploded on 
any circle taken, that sorties could not be made, that 
earthen works in India were made of a peculiar sort of 
clay only to be found in the East, that any wall in a ditch, 
it could be proved, could be demolished, that the number 
of guns proposed by Fergusson could not be collected, 
and that batteries could be established against them 
sufficient to take the place, that Fergusson had not studied 
the theory of plunging shot, and the certain destructive 
fire by that means, into a ditch. I do not mean to become 
the champion of a new system, but I think it ought to be 
tried, which he said would be difficult. He appeared to 
consider the discussion terminated, and to think that it 
was impossible it could be adopted against the opinion of 
the whole corps of Engineers." 

On the 1 4th June Lady Seaton notes in her diary : 
" We all went on the ground to see the troops arrive 
and form the encampment ; a fine sight." 

Lord Seaton was now busily occupied in training 
the troops, and reviews and field days followed in 
quick succession. On the 2ist the Queen was 
present. On the 24th Lord Seaton dined with 
Prince Albert in his tent. The Queen was again 
present on the 5th July, when a bridge was thrown 
across Virginia Water, and again at a review on the 
4th August. 

It has been said of Lord Seaton's command of the 
camp at Chobham : 

" Not only was every officer and man sensible of 
that courtesy and consideration that never demanded 
more than could be well performed, and as in old 
times of real war, had caused the saying that there 
was nothing his men would not do for him, but the 

352 IN ENGLAND. [Cfi. XXI. 

training under his experienced eye was felt to have 
been of the greatest service to the troops when the 
actual trial of the Crimean campaign ensued."* 

Sir William Fraser records that Lord Seaton told 
him at Chobham that the hill opposite the lines, 
crowned with pine trees, was not unlike the heights 
of Busaco.f 

At the end of September Lord and Lady Seaton 
were again home at Deer Park. A month later 
there was a flying visit to Brixham, where they again 
met Sir Harry and Lady Smith, and other such 
visits were paid, including a sad one to Otterbourne, 
on the occasion of the funeral of Captain William 
Crawley Yonge (4th March, 1854), but Deer Park 
was their home during the winter and spring. By 
the end of February war with Russia was a certainty 
and a month later Major Francis Colborne left 
Canada to join the troops in the Crimea as 
Assistant-Quartermaster-General to the Third Divi- 
sion. In a letter of 3rd June Lord Seaton gave 
his son some instruction in his new duties : 

" Taking up good and convenient positions on the 
march, free from bad air, with good water, and plenty of 
shade, and satisfactory (pour parler militairement), when 
it. can be accomplished, with the military points attended 
to as a position, will be the test of your fitness for the 
department If you are put on three or four hours before 
your division be sure to have all quite ready, and the points 
taken up for every brigade and the advanced posts for 
picquets settled ; and the reasons prepared for your having 
decided on the position and disposition. These positions 
on the march will generally be for convenience of the 

* Christian Remembrancer, October, 1867. 
f Words on Wellington, p. 206. 

I854-] DUTIES OF AN A.-Q.-M.-G. 353 

troops. In allotting villages or parts of a town for canton- 
ments, or for a temporary halt, take care to accustom your- 
self to look at a town quickly, and to determine how many 
regiments can be stowed away in such a district or such 
parts of the town ; and when you have inspected streets 
and houses and counted public buildings from your horse, 
have your markers and orderlies ready to chalk on the 
doors and walls ' 1st Brigade/ ' 2nd Brigade/ etc., leaving 
the brigadiers 'and brigade majors to settle details and to 
quarter off field officers and regiments. Sketch every 
position you occupy, and state your reasons for the dis- 
position and position. This activity and knowledge of 
your business will soon set you at ease, and render you a 
valuable officer and bring you to your proper level. An 
active officer, with judgment, is sure to get into notice, and 
all this you can accomplish quietly and modestly, although 
with firmness and confidence in your own capacity. Camp 
kettles and baggage arrangements must also be attended 
to, and do not forget to be constantly in communication 
with the commissariat department, acquainting the com- 
missaries with the arrangements for the day and with the 
numbers of mules or horses necessary for conveying am- 
munition, etc. The more intimate you become with the 
officers of the commissariat the better. You will find them 
most useful, if they are treated with respect, and consulted 
as to the affairs under their charge. Thus much for my 
hasty lecture." 

On the 24th March Lord Seaton, who had 
previously been Colonel of the 26th Foot, received 
the appointment of Colonel of the 2nd Life Guards. 
At a levee on the 3rd May he received in virtue of 
this office the Gold Stick from Her Majesty, and 
as Gold Stick attended a ball at the Palace on the 

On the 3rd July a son was born to the Hon. James 
Colborne. He was Lord and Lady Seaton's first 


354 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XXI. 

grandson, and is at present the third holder of the 

The alliance of England and France in the 
Crimea drew together the English and Imperial 
Courts, and it was arranged that Prince Albert 
should visit the French camp at St. Omer as 
the guest of Napoleon III., the first occasion, as is 
said, of the Prince's being parted from the Queen, 
even for a day, since their marriage. Lord Seaton 
was among those who were asked to accompany him. 
After dining at Osborne on 4th September he 
embarked with Prince Albert in the Royal yacht. 
They disembarked at Boulogne at 7 a.m. next day, 
and after visiting the camp returned to England 
the same night. Lady Seaton, on I2th September, 
writes to her son Francis : 

" They returned to Osborne on Saturday morning at 
9 o'clock, the Queen meeting them in the ' Fairy/ and your 
father says her meeting the Prince was really beautiful and 
made him almost drop a tear. He seems to have enjoyed 
himself as much as it was possible, considering how anxious 
he is about the Crimea expedition, and to have been 
treated quite like a friend by both Prince and Emperor. 
He says he used to listen with intense interest to the 
telegraphic messages delivered each night to the Emperor 
and Prince, especially the messages from St. Arnaud." 

A curious incident took place during this visit to 
a place familiar to Lord Seaton in the days of the 
occupation of France. At a cottage at which the 
Emperor and his staff halted Lord Seaton had some 
conversation with the old woman who owned it, and 
they recognized each other. The Emperor said 
facetiously to his staff, " Oh, gentlemen, we can 
quite imagine what occurred between these two 


young people in those days ! " a joke which was not 
very palatable to the Spartan virtue of the English 

On his return from France Lord Seaton visited 
his connexions, the Yonges of Otterbourne. Miss 
Charlotte Yonge writes of this visit : " I had the 
great pleasure of taking him to a Sunday evening 
service at Winchester College Chapel and hearing 
how much he enjoyed it ; observing upon the great 
improvement in reverence and discipline since his 
own days * sixty years since.' ' 

With a son at the seat of war, Lord and Lady 
Seaton were deeply concerned in all that took place 
in the Crimea, and heard with deep emotion during 
the autumn of a rumoured fall of Sebastopol, of the 
fact that it had not fallen, of the battles of the Alma, 
of Balaclava, "in which our light cavalry were so 
sacrificed," and of Inkerman. 

One day Lady Seaton writes in her diary, " Lord 
Seaton and I drove to meet the boy with the 
Times; " another day, " Ordered a buffalo skin to be 
sent to Francis ; " and another, " Sent Francis a 
sprig of laurel." This was after he had been 
mentioned for Inkerman. 

The anxiety of the moment is reflected in the 
following letter addressed to Lord Seaton by his old 
comrade, Sir George Napier, who had himself 
volunteered his services in the war : 

" Nice, 

" 28th November, 1854. 

" I see by the papers, if they state truth, that you have 
strongly impressed on Lord Hardinge and the Duke of 
Newcastle the necessity of reinforcements being sent out, 

N 2 


and I trust in God your advice will be taken, but I blame 
the Ministers strongly for not having sent every soldier 
in England three months ago ! I am sure you would have 
urged it to the utmost of your power, and if, as I expected, 
and as they ought to have done, they had made you War 
Minister (and not a boy civilian, who must be and is 
ignorant of war), all would have been quite safe, and our 
excellent friend and comrade, Lord Raglan, would 
not have had to regret the want of troops! Why not 
send the militia to Gibraltar ; they would volunteer 
instantly; and then make Harry Smith Governor, and 
he would soon drill and d n them into order, and make 
ten thousand of them ready in the spring to volunteer to 
the Crimea." 

In his reply to the above letter, Lord Seaton com- 
mented, a month later, on the course of the war up 
to that date : 

" We may assert positively that the grand enterprise 
was undertaken with an inadequate force and too late. 
From the day I heard the attack on Sebastopol was sanc- 
tioned I could scarcely think or talk on any other subject ; 
and to this hour all my thoughts are turned to that quarter, 
and to the splendid troops contending against every hard- 
ship and disadvantage that an army can encounter. 

" From the moment I was informed that the expedition 
was in contemplation, I gave my opinion freely to many 
of my military friends, but I have never had any com- 
munication with Ministers or with the authorities at the 
Horse Guards, beyond a casual remark. The substance of 
my conversation with military friends was as follows, and 
I think the same opinions must have occurred to most 
persons, looking at the affair as a military question : 

" We knew that in the month of April the Russians had 
27,000 men in Sebastopol, that they had 95,000 men in 
Bessarabia and on the Danube, and reserves at Jassy and 
Kiev. It therefore appeared certain that a military 
Emperor would make every possible effort to protect the 

1854.] THE CRIMEAN WAR. 357 

most important part of his Empire, the Crimea, and on the 
least demonstration being made in that quarter he would 
take means to assign a large force to meet any attack on 
the part of the Allies. Thus we could not but calculate 
that 27,000 men working in Sebastopol would make a siege 
necessary, that if a siege should be necessary then it would 
require 70,000 men to invest the place (that was Colonel 
Chesney's estimate), that magazines would be formed at 
Cherson and Perekop, ready for the supply of reinforce- 
ments, that we should have, under the most favourable 
circumstances, a formidable army to oppose our landing, 
that we must then expect to fight two battles on apparently 
good positions before we could drive in the Russian force 
and invest Sebastopol ; and that if we could not ensure its 
fall in three or four days, or that it was likely a siege of 
even ten days must be the result of our disembarkation, 
then the enemy would have the great advantage of being 
able to assemble a large force and a relieving army to 
engage the Allies in a series of battles and operations. 

" This was the dark side of the question, but, I added, 
the whole probable result must depend on the information 
collected, certain information as to the defences of Sebas- 
topol, its capabilities, and the number of troops in the place 
and in the Crimea. 

" If it should be true, and if the commanders of the Allies 
have ascertained, that there are not more than 40,000 men 
in the Crimea, that by taking possession of the heights 
near Inkerman two or three forts can be commanded and 
easily destroyed, and that the town would be thus open 
and the ships and arsenals exposed, the enterprise will be 
as successful, as the whole scheme is splendid and glorious. 
But how could any military man at a distance think of the 
expedition, except as a most hazardous undertaking ? The 
preparations had begun early in July, the very bay, in 
which the Allies were to land, was pointed out in the Times, 
almost officially and ostentatiously, on the 2Oth July, and 
the Czar had nearly two months to prepare for the dis- 
embarkation of troops between Eupatoria and the Bibbek. 


What reason could there be for not supposing that he 
would at least be able to have 70,000 men in the field; 
that 25,000 would be the opposing force in landing, and 
that the remainder would retire to a contracted position 
near the grand fortifications, and the detached force follow 
in the rear ? If Menschikoff had not engaged in any deci- 
sive operations till he had taken up a position near the 
forts, and had retired, disputing every day the advance, 
while the rear of the Allies was menaced and harassed, 
it is evident that 50,000 or 58,000 was a force not adequate 
to the operations contemplated. The original plan, I 
believe, was to disembark within seven miles of St Con- 
stantine, and then to attack the works on the north side ; 
but the danger and risk of this scheme from a [the?] 
number of troops seen in position required more caution. 

"It was obvious to almost every military man before 
the expedition started, that the' heights of Inkerman should 
have been the first object, except the forts on the north 
were very vulnerable and easy to take. The scheme of 
breaking ground before strong defences on the north and 
depending on a rough and stormy coast as the basis of 
operations, while the Allies had not sufficient force to 
invest the place or guard the roads to the eastward, was 
objectionable. We cannot but suppose that the Czar 
either was persuaded that the expedition was intended for 
other points, or that he calculated on a siege, or on time 
sufficient to be able to outnumber the Allies. It has been 
said that if the Allies had followed the defeated Russians, 
with the divisions fit to move, on the day of the battle of 
Alma, the town might have been entered without much 
loss or opposition the following day ; but it is impossible 
to judge of these reported practicable operations without 
knowing the state of the defences of Sebastopol, the force 
assigned for its protection at the time Menschikoff 
approached it and marched to Batchiserai. 

" We cannot read the account of the terrific encounter at 
Inkerman without trembling. I think it appears that the 
picquets were badly posted, and that precautions [were 


neglected?]. Under the circumstances in which our 
inadequate force found itself, the brigadiers and generals 
of division would be expected to adopt means to prevent, 
we must suppose, the probability of being attacked before 
the whole of the armies could get into position. But the 
Russian columns did actually contrive to get within a few 
hundred yards of the right of the Allies without being 
checked. It was fortunate they were attacked on all sides 
by nearly 8,000 of the best soldiers in the world, deployed, 
and every shot from their arms piercing with effect. The 
Russians probably lost the generals in command and 
officers in command of battalions ; they began to move 
and the dense columns then were exposed to active lines, 
the masses of the Russians advancing and retiring without 
plan, or having any superior officers to direct their move- 
ments ; so that, like a Spanish bull-fight, the tormented 
animal was exposed to the picatori on every flank until 
tired out and rendered incapable of resisting from loss of 
blood and wounds. 

" I should suppose that no serious operation will take 
place before Sebastopol till the arrival of large reinforce- 
ments, and that when the approaches are completed and 
the defences at certain points destroyed, a lodgment will 
be made, and the garrison, [being] without casemates, 
will find it necessary to evacuate the works on the south 

" It occurred to me that as soon as one regiment of the 
Allies had arrived at Constantinople, or near it, any 
probability of an advance on the part of the Russians into 
Bulgaria, with a view of marching towards the Balkan 
passes, was at an end. The siege of Silistria was an 
absurd operation at the time it was undertaken, and con- 
trary to the counsel of Paskicostt, and when the Austrians 
began to menace and march to the frontiers of Moldavia, 
it was evident the Russians would pass the Pruth as soon 
as their forces could be collected. Thus we might have 
had very early in the campaign a force in the Bay of 
Bomgas on either side of the passes, a kind of floating 

360 IN ENGLAND. [Cn. XXI. 

army, with our means of transport ready for the Crimea.* 
But when the siege of Silistria was abandoned on the 22nd 
June and the Russians retreated on Bucharest and on 
Jassy, and when the Austrians had liberated the Russian 
force in Wallachia and Moldavia by preparing to occupy 
these provinces, and when it was certain the Russian army 
could march in 24 days from Bucharest to Bender, on the 
Dniester, the success of the expedition to the Crimea 
evidently depended on the immense force that could be 
conveyed there by the Allies in a certain time." 

iWe may supplement the above by an extract from 
a letter of 2ist January, 1855, addressed to his son 
Francis : 

" It appears to me that the 3rd Division was the only 
one in hand on the terrific day of Inkerman. The Times 
continues to let off the steam against the staff of the 
British army at Sebastopol siege ; as if all the faux calcul 
had been occasioned by an incompetent staff and from 
officers not having been educated at Sandhurst. The non- 
sense and stuff that appears in the papers is disgusting. 

" The whole case is evident. An inadequate force 
undertakes an enterprise too late, and having been un- 
prepared for a siege in winter, the men are worked beyond 
their strength, and no general could have prevented the 
confusion and mismanagement that immediately followed 
the grand failure. 

" A quartermaster-general is not made in one campaign, 
and certainly never without much fighting previously. Sir 
G. Murray was an indifferent one on his first campaign, 
but being very clever, and having seen much service, he 
became the best staff officer in Europe. All the arrange- 
ments ought to have been made by the quartermaster- 

* In a shorter letter to Lord Hardinge of 2oth December, in which 
Lord Seaton gives a similar account of his views, he says more 
clearly : " The army of the Allies should have been considered as a 
floating force, ready to menace the left of the Russians." On 
8th May, 1855, he wrote to the Duke of Newcastle to protest against 
a statement that he had approved of the siege. 


general, the commissary-general, and the commanding 
officer of Artillery and Engineers, after constant interviews 
with the Commander-in-Chief. 

" The Duke of Wellington, when he arrived at Brussels 
in 1815, found no arrangements made. The commissary- 
general and the commanding officer of Artillery bought 
all the horses and had all the carts and waggons con- 
structed in a short time, and by calculation ordered the 
exact number of horses and conveyances for Medical 
Department, Artillery and Engineers, and commissariat 
and baggage of divisions, and staff of headquarters. This 
was all accomplished by two officers, the quartermaster- 
general and commissary-general, with the assistance of 
the incessant labours of the commanding officer of the 

" But in this case of the Crimea you have been taken 
aback, and had never men sufficient for the investment or 
to carry on the approaches on either side. Sir H. Douglas 
has written a very foolish pamphlet, which you will see 
quoted in the Times. 

" With respect to the operations of the Allied armies, I 
mean the mere battles, I think the movements would be 
condemned at a distance, if they are to be judged by mili- 
tary rules established by strategists and tacticians. When 
the attack is made, I hope it will be only made on the side 
attacked by the French. If a lodgment is made opposite 
their nearest approach, and then the streets cowed by a 
menacing process, blowing up four or five houses wherever 
resistance is made, the town must be evacuated, and in 
carrying one part the whole would be in your possession. 
The attack on the side of the English ought to be more of 
a diversion than a real attack, with the intention of taking 
advantage of accidental circumstances." 

Lady Seaton has the following entry for the last 
day of the year : " Lord Seaton, Cordelia and I, in 
walking home from church in the evening, watched 
the last sunset of 1854 and talked of that of 


with anxiety of the events that .might have 
happened." A few weeks later John Colborne, the 
youngest son, followed his brother to the Crimea. 

Early in 1855 Lord Seaton received a character- 
istic note from his old comrade, General Charles 

" Turin, 

"6th January, 1855. 

" My dear Lord Seaton, I am most grateful to you for 
your kind and soldierlike answer to my letter. The 
attention and affection of our old superiors is the sweetest 
reward of our past toils and dangers. Old death may mow 
us down, as he did our brave cavalry at Balaklava, but the 
feeling which binds soldiers to one another is indestructible, 
the most sacred on earth, and will spring up again into life 
when we shall chase death before us and triumph in a 
glorious immortality. 


* See pp. 222, 223, n. 





On 3ist January Lord Seaton received an 
offer from Lord Hardinge of the command of the 
forces in Ireland. He accepted it, and after a visit 
to London, in which he dined at the Palace and with 
the Commander-in-Chief, arrived in Dublin on I2th 
March to take up his appointment. 

In virtue of his office he became Governor of the 
Royal Hospital at Kilmainham, and here he was 
joined by his family on the I3th April. 

" The Royal Hospital, which had been made by 
the great Duke of Ormond into an Irish Chelsea, 
had fallen into an irregular state, but under Lord 
Seaton it received a thorough revivification an 
active and benevolent sub-governor was appointed, 
and abuses were cleared away. The Royal Hospital 
formed a quadrangle, two sides of which were 
inhabited by the pensioners, and the other two con- 
sisted of the chapel and the Governor's house. 
Every Sunday after morning service Lord Seaton 
might be seen inspecting the serving out of the day's 
ration to the old men, all arrayed in uniforms remind- 
ing one of prints of Corporal Trim, all moving like 


clockwork as they marched in, saluted, received 
their portion, saluted and marched out, their honest 
hearts warmed by the kindly looks and words of the 
Governor and his family."* 

The Crimea still sent home news of good and evil 
import. In June the failure of the Redan had a 
sad sequel in the death of Lord Raglan ; in July, to 
the gratification of his parents, Francis Colborne 
had obtained the C.B.f 

Lord Seaton's five years in Ireland led to the 
strengthening of some personal ties for example, 
with the veteran Lord Gough, with Lord Downes, 
and Lord and Lady Clonmell, now connected with 
Lord Seaton by his eldest son's marriage, with the 
Lord Lieutenant, Lord Carlisle, and his successor, 
Lord Eglinton. 

Among those who visited Lord Seaton during the 
years of his command in Ireland were his old com- 
rades of the 52nd Regiment, Sir Frederick Love, 
Sir William Rowan and Sir James Alexander. Of 
the admiration felt by the first-named for his old 
chief, Major Richardson, telling of an evening he 
spent as the guest of Sir George Arthur at Toronto 
in November, 1838, gives interesting testimony: 
'' The conversation turned on the services of the 
gallant Sir John Colborne. It was delightful to hear 
Colonel Love an old 52nd man himself who wore 
the well-merited reward of his valour upon his breast, 
expatiate on the feats of arms of Sir John in the 
Peninsula. He tracked him through his brilliant 
course, dwelt upon every dashing enterprise in which 

* Christian Remembrancer, October, 1867. 

f He was afterwards made K.C.B. for his services in China in 1878. 

1855-60.] AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. 365 

he had been engaged and related so many amusing 
anecdotes of his service, that the whole party were 
disappointed when he had closed."* 

General Montgomery-Moore, who was on Lord 
Seaton's staff in Ireland, says : " Nothing was so 
striking to us young aides-de-camp as the quiet way 
in which the General gave his orders. It must, of 
course, frequently happen that some little confusion 
arises between the giving and the receiving of an 
order. A quiet smile, or ' Humph ! ' or * What a 
stupid fellow ! ' was the extent of the outburst if 
things went wrong. He held his troops so in the 
hollow of his hand so to speak that no mistakes 
ever upset his arrangements. His successor in the 
Irish command would use rather strong language on 
his field days, and the riddle was then asked, ' What 
is the difference between the late and the present 
Commander of the Forces?' Answer, * Only a 
vowel. One never emits an oath, and the other 
never omits one.' Once, when I was riding with 
Lord Seaton, I unwittingly said, ' Sir John Moore 
was rather wanting in decision, was he not ? ' ' Deci- 
sion? No. I never met so decided a character,' 
he replied, quite annoyed. Sometimes when he was 
talking he would think we showed symptoms of 
weariness, and he would at once stop. ' Oh, I see, 
you look upon me as a sort of Uncle Toby.' 
Nothing after that would induce him to go on." 

In Ireland Lord Seaton kept up the system started 
at Chobham of training soldiers to active service in 
camps, and every summer he held a long series of 
reviews at the Curragh, which became, as has been 

* Eight Years in Canada, p. 70. 


said, a most useful place of instruction both to the 
regular troops and the Irish militia who were brought 
into training there, while the society of the place was 
rendered enjoyable to the officers and their wives by 
the kindly courtesy of the ladies of Lord Seaton's 
family. One of these ladies in particular, the Hon. 
Cordelia Colborne, undertook a wider work of 
beneficence, in organizing means of supporting the 
wives and children of the soldiers at the front, a 
work which, when the Crimean War was over, was 
prolonged by the calls made by the Indian Mutiny. 
For five years, it is said, she might almost have been 
called the providence of the soldiers' wives and 
widows of Dublin. The result of her labours was 
the adoption by the War Office of the principle that 
soldiers' clothing should be made up by soldiers' 

We get a pleasant picture of the life at the Curragh 
in a letter from Lady Seaton to her son Francis, of 
i ;th October, 1855 : 

" The excitement to-day has been to see new colours 
given to the Wexford Militia by Mrs. Carew, the Colonel's 
wife. What a" very pretty ceremony it is ! Even your 
father had never seen it before. And then the saluting 
him was so pretty! Afterwards we had a most splendid 
luncheon in the mess-room, given to 150. Your papa 
behaved very well, even to drinking champagne, and even 
to the wearing his medals! Now you have earned some, 
he begins to be proud of his own, I tell him! He is so 
well! Nothing can agree better with him than this kind 
of life and the Curragh air ! " 

On many occasions Lord Seaton made tours of 
inspection to various parts of Ireland. In these he 
was generally accompanied by his eldest son as 

i855-6o.] VISIT TO VIENNA. 367 

aide-de-camp. Once he visited Bragganstown, the 
home of his mother's family, the Garstins. 

In 1856 Lord Seaton acquired the house and 
estate of Beechwood, near Sparkwell, South 
Devon. This house, within a few miles of his 
earlier residences, Lyneham and Kitley, and of his 
wife's ancestral home, Puslinch, had been known 
to him ever since he became acquainted with Devon- 
shire and took a Devonshire bride. Unfortunately, 
his half-sister, Alethea, was no longer reigning at 
Puslinch she had died in 1844 an d his only full 
sister, Cordelia (Mrs. Duke Yonge), died at 
Plymouth on 2Oth July, 1856. Lord Seaton paid 
one or two visits to Beechwood before the end of 
his Irish command. 

In June, 1857, he made a longer journey of much 
interest, having been invited by the Emperor of 
Austria to attend the looth anniversary of the Order 
of Maria Theresa at Vienna. Accompanied by his 
eldest son and Captain Alexander Montgomery- 
Moore, his aides-de-camp, he reached Vienna on the 
1 7th June. 

The surviving member of the party has kindly 
supplied me with an account of what followed : 

" We arrived late in the evening and were received 
by the Emperor's equerry and the officers who were 
to attend on Lord Seaton and his staff. Immediately 
after dinner we drove in one of the royal carriages to 
witness a torchlight tattoo. Next morning we 
attended a review, followed by High Mass in the 
field. The young Emperor, looking younger than 
his years from his slight figure and his white uniform, 
was an interesting personality. Lord Seaton and 


his staff were presented to him on the field and he 
was pleased to express the pleasure it gave him to see 
us there. Later in the day we went to the Palace 
of Schonbrunn, where were drawn up detachments 
of men from every province of the empire, who were 
all inspected and addressed by the Emperor. A 
sumptuous repast followed, and we tasted the 
celebrated Tokay, said to be 100 years old. On one 
side of me was Prince Esterhazy, who had been for 
twenty-five years Ambassador in London on the 
other srde, the Prince of Capua, who had married 
Miss Smyth, an Irish lady. This was arranged 
specially by the Emperor, and it struck me as a 
remarkable instance of kindness and attention to the 
youngest member of the British mission, and a sign 
of the Emperor's appreciation of the effort made by 
my distinguished chief to be present on such an 
occasion. We were afterwards at a Court, and were 
presented to the Empress and the Archduchess 
Sophia, the Emperor's mother, and I had the honour 
of a short conversation with the Archduke John, a 
venerable old man with long, snow-white hair, who 
had commanded the Austrians at Hohenlinden. On 
this and every occasion the young Emperor seemed 
much interested in Lord Seaton and frequently 
addressed him. He took us through his arsenal next 
morning, and after a pontoon had been thrown across 
the Danube we rode across it in his staff with 25,000 
men. He seemed a master of all military details, 
and was constantly drawing Lord Seaton's attention 
to some improvement or new invention, and at that 
time the Austrian army was the model for the rest of 


On Lord Seaton's return he stayed some days in 
Paris, and there pointed out to his companions the 
spot in the Champs Elysees in which the 52nd had 
been encamped in 1815. After visiting London and 
Devonshire he returned to Ireland on 22nd July. 

On the 30th September his daughter, the Hon. 
Jane Colborne, was married in the Royal Chapel 
to Captain Montgomery-Moore, now General Sir 
Alexander Montgomery-Moore, K.C.B. Lord Car- 
lisle, then Viceroy, and Lord Cardigan, of Balaclava 
fame, were among those present. 

Early in 1858 another marriage ceremony claimed 
Lord Seaton's presence. 

" I had an agreeable trip to London," he writes on 
1 7th February, " on the occasion of the late marriage 
[of the Princess Royal]. The Queen spoke to me 
en passant, and told me that she had no occasion 
to ask me how I was, inferring from my looks, I 
suppose, that Ireland has agreed with me." 

On ist August, 1859, Lord Seaton had the 
pleasure of presenting new colours to the 2nd 
Battalion of his first regiment, the 2Oth. In doing 
so he said : " In presenting these colours at your 
request, Colonel Radcliffe, I may be allowed to 
observe that on entering the army I was appointed 
to the 20th, that I served my first campaign with it, 
and continued to share with it for many years the 
active service on which the corps was engaged. 
Early friendships and attachments leave the 
strongest impressions and associations, and you 
may imagine that I feel it almost a right to be pre- 
ferred on this occasion for the duty you have 
proposed that I should undertake." 


A lew months- later he announced to his brother- 
in-law, the Reverend John Yonge, his speedy 
resignation of his command. 

" Dublin, 

" 1 2th November, 1859. 

" I have determined on relinquishing my appointment 
at the end of five years, the period fixed for holding 
commands. Although I am blessed at present with sana 
mens in cor pore sano, I must always be expecting to break 
down, and think it necessary to vacate my seat decently, 
and to retire while I am able to take my leave in an 
effective state, without attracting the sarcastic remarks 
of the Press as to my tenacity in holding on at my age. 
[He was nearly 82.] I think I shall be able to employ 
myself with my private concerns at Beechwood, where I 
can live at less expense than in Dublin, and imagine 
myself a farmer on a small scale. Affectionately yours, 


On the 22nd March, 1860, Lord Seaton was 
entertained by the Lord Lieutenant at a farewell 
dinner, another day he received a eulogistic address 
from the Lord Mayor and citizens of Dublin, and on 
the 3Oth left Ireland. A day later he received from 
H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge the following letter, 
announcing his elevation to the rank of Field- 
Marshal : 

" Horse Guards, 

"30th March, 1860. 

" My dear Lord Seaton, Though a public letter will 
go to you this day expressive of my sentiments on your 
relinquishing the high military post which you have filled 
in Ireland for the last five years, I cannot deprive myself 
of the pleasure of adding a few lines of my own to assure 
you of my sincere and heartfelt thanks for the able support 

1860.] FIELD-MARSHAL. 3 7 1 

which I have ever received at your hands, as also of deep 
regret at your period of service having come to a close. 
I have, however, one most agreeable task to perform in 
announcing to you that Her Majesty has been graciously 
pleased to mark her sense of the great services you have 
rendered both to herself and to the country during a very 
extended military career, by raising you to the rank of 
Field-Marshal, which nomination will appear in the 
Gazette this evening. As an old and sincere friend, let 
me conclude by expressing a hope that this mark of favour 
may be acceptable to yourself, and that health and strength 
may yet long attend you. I remain, my dear Lord Seaton, 
your most sincere friend, 


The writer in the Christian Remembrancer for 
October, 1867, gives a striking picture of Lord 
Seaton as he appeared in his vigorous old age, 
during his years of command in Ireland : 

" Little can anyone who saw him forget that grand 
figure, the noble stature, erect and unbent by years, 
the fine head covered by short crisp curls of perfectly 
white hair, the bright limpid blue eyes, that seemed to 
have the capacity of looking into and at everything at 
once with the alert steadiness peculiar to soldiers 
and sailors, the complexion which to the last had the 
soft purity and fairness of skin of a child, and the 
peculiarly gentle mouth. The forehead was very 
high, with the same peculiar compression of the 
temples as in the Duke of Wellington, which caused 
Lord Seaton to be often mistaken for him in spite 
of being a much taller and larger-framed man, with 
nothing of the aquiline mould, but with perfectly 
straight features and a long, mobile upper lip. 
Hearing, teeth, alertness of bearing, elasticity of 


step, readiness of attention and wonderful and 
minute accuracy of memory, all remained as 
perfect as in a young man, and those who 
have seen him riding at the head of his staff at 
Chobham, Dublin, or at the Curragh have seen one 
of the finest remnants of the men who broke the 
pride of Napoleon." 

After leaving Ireland Lord and Lady Seaton 
spent six weeks in London. Lady Seaton writes to 
her son Francis on 2Oth May : 

" At the last Drawing Room and Ball your father, as 
Gold Stick, was obliged to guard the Queen to the last 
moment. Oh, I wish you could have seen him covered 
with collars and medals as fine, or finer than any of them, 
and just above the Queen. Lady Rothes said, ' He did 
look so noble, and so splendid and so benevolent, I know 
I made my first courtesy to him! Someone else was heard 
to say, ' Oh, do come and look at Lord Seaton ! He is a 
perfect picture ! ' 

They left on the igth May, spent a few days 
at Newhouse, near Salisbury, with Mr. Eyre 
Matcham, an uncle of Captain Montgomery- 
Moore's, and then went by Bath and Torquay to 
Dittisham, the home of their son, the Hon. and 
Reverend Graham Colborne. They finally settled 
at their chosen home, Beechwood, in August. At 
Beechwood Lord Seaton spent his time in improving 
his estate and in assisting to build a church and 
school for the adjacent hamlet of Sparkwell ; there, 
as everywhere, leading his family in efforts for the 
good of those around him. 

Lady Montgomery-Moore gives the following 

1 86o-6 1.] A COUNTRY GENTLEMAN. 373 

account of the last ride she took with her father 
apparently on nth February, 1861 : 

"He rode about 16 miles at a good trot, through the 
woods and round by Fleet to Puslinch and back. I can 
see him now, a straight, tall, slight figure, on his dear 
black horse Middleton, at those Puslinch steps, taking out 
his card-case and holding the reins over his arm. As he 
went home he said, ' I wanted to see your uncle about my 
will.' I remember laughing and saying. ' Oh, that does 
not matter.' He gave one the idea of life. He was very 
free from the ordinary concomitants of old age. He had 
an interest in everything, and his ideas were advancing 
always on politics, Church matters, &c. I remember a 
letter from Lord Airey, then Adjutant-General at the 
Horse Guards, about the time my father left Dublin in 
1860, saying that he was such a referee in difficulties 
his ideas were always in advance unlike the case of most 
military men." 

Immediately after this Lord Seaton was laid up 
for a month, as he had been once or twice in 
Ireland, with a bronchial affection, but by the 
beginning of April he was well again. In the 
summer he sat to Mr. Fisher for a portrait painted 
at the desire of the United Service Club, and now 
in the club's possession. 

" I am still before the painter," he writes on igth 
August, to Mrs. W. C. Yonge, " a very painful pro- 
cess, but Elizabeth and my friends who have been 
permitted to inspect the Field-Marshal in his seven- 
league boots think it a very good picture, and not 
to be mistaken by his comrades who have requested 
him to put himself in attitude for the occasion." 

On the 2nd December he wrote to his friend, Mr. 
Matcham, of Newhouse, a nephew of Lord Nelson's, 


in regard to some recently-published extracts from 
Mrs. Trench's diary, reflecting on the character of 
Lord Nelson, which Mr. Matcham had answered. 
Lord Seaton warmly testifies to the character of the 
great seaman : 

" I never had the honour of being introduced to the 
illustrious Nelson, but having been employed in the 
Mediterranean from 1800 to 1809, I had frequent oppor- 
tunities of hearing, from able officers who were intimately 
acquainted with him, and had long served under his im- 
mediate command, their enthusiastic admiration of him 
in regard to the simplicity of his character and his 
diffidence when referring to his own career and brilliant 
actions. His very abstemious habits in social intercourse 
were so universally known that no further notice can be 
required to counteract the attacks of the malevolent gossip 
contained in the journal." 

A few days later, owing to fears of a war with the 
United States, Sir George Cornewall Lewis con- 
sulted Lord Seaton in regard to the defence of 
Canada. He replied the same day with a complete 
scheme of defence, and wrote three days later that 
he had been thanked for his " valuable and luminous 

On the 1 4th December the Prince Consort died. 
He had been Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifle Brigade, 
the old " 95th," which had served so gallantly 
side by side with the 52nd in the Light Division. 
In the depth of her bereavement the Queen wrote 
herself to Lord Seaton to say that in this office there 
was no one whom she should so much like to succeed 
the Prince as he. He was gazetted to the colonelcy 
of the Brigade on I4th February, 1862. 

But the closing days of 1861 had brought a sad 


change in Lord Seaton's health, of which the 
following entries in his wife's diary are a pathetic 
testimony : 

" 2Qth December (Sunday). We were all at Sparkwell 
Church, and all received the Holy Communion. Lord S. 
quite well. 

" 3Oth. Lord S. quite well, and took a long ride with 
Francis and Theresa Cochrane, but at 10 o'clock was taken 
ill, and at 6 o'clock this morning (3ist) I sent for Mr. 
Rogers and Dr. Yonge. 

" Never well again ! " [Written subsequently.] 

Lord Seaton's illness, due to a cold caught in his 
ride, occasioned him much intermittent pain and 
confined him to his room during most of the year. 
From week to week his state varied. On the 3ist 
January he was " out in the carriage," and then again 
** not so well." On the 28th April he was visited by 
Mr. Paget, and, by his advice, brought downstairs. 
Towards the end of May he was " better," but the 
improvement had a terrible check. On the 3Oth 
May, after a week's illness, his beloved daughter, 
Cordelia, she who had been the ministering angel 
of the poor in Dublin, was taken away from him. 
She had been her father's devoted companion, and 
the bereavement was a bitter one. 

Still, we are told, " the shock made no material 
difference in his condition, and there was no air of 
the feebleness of old age about him, no bending, no 
decay, but the same affectionateness, the same 
serenity and sweetness, the same quiet depth of 
dutiful trust and undemonstrative devotion that had 
been his through life."* 

* Christian Remembrancer, October, 1867. 


He still, from time to time, was out of doors, 
walking or driving at Beechwood, until on the gth 
December a change was made to Valetta House, 
Torquay. At Torquay he was still able to take 
drives on fine days. On Christmas Day Lady 
Seaton's diary records : " Dr. Harris [her brother- 
in-law] administered the Holy Communion to Lord 
Seaton at Valetta House." Against the last week 
of February she writes, " Down and about every 
day ; " on the 8th March, " Mr. Paget came to see 
Lord Seaton ; thinks him better than when he saw 
him last year;" on the 29th, "Mr. Paget here; 
Lord Seaton in great pain." On 6th April there was 
a change for the worse. A week or so later occurred 
a touching incident which is thus related by his 
surviving son, the Hon. and Reverend Graham 
Colborne ; 

" On the last day or two before his death we found him 
shedding tears whilst sitting in his chair, and on my 
mother's asking him why he was weeping, he replied that 
he was thinking of his poor soldier servant, a soldier of 
the 52nd, who was shot down in the last charge of the 
regiment on the French Guards at Waterloo, and cried 
out to him, ' Oh, colonel, colonel, come and help me,' and 
his replying, ' Lie quietly ; the battle will be over in half 
an hour, when you will be carried to the rear and all will 
be well,' or words to that effect, but the poor fellow died 
where he was. I only mention this as showing my dear 
father's tender-heartedness, and his remembering all this 
in his last hours." 

On April 1 7th, by his own request, the Holy 
Communion was administered to him. He followed 
the service reverently and repeated the responses, 
but his wife and children, who were kneeling round 

1863.] DEATH. 377 

his bed, saw that the end was near. Scarcely had 
the clergyman pronounced the blessing, when, 
holding the hand of his son Graham, and looking 
at him steadfastly, he said distinctly three or four 
times, " For Christ's sake ! for Christ's sake ! " and 
passed away. The veteran had at last found 

He had completed the 85th year of his age and 
the 68th year of his connexion with the army; in 
two months more he would have celebrated the 5oth 
anniversary of his marriage. 

Upon his faithful wife and family sorrow fell upon 
sorrow. His eldest son James and his wife had 
spent the last sad weeks at Torquay. Three days 
after Lord Seaton's death his daughter-in-law, now 
Lady Seaton, lay in childbirth; six days later, in 
the same house, she too died ! 

Ere this, on the 24th April, Lord Seaton had 
been laid by his daughter's side in the churchyard 
of Newton Ferrers, the church of which Lady 
Seaton's brother was Rector, as her father had been 
before him. When she passed away, on 28th 
November, 1872, she was laid there too. She had 
spent the years of her widowhood at Beechwood. 

Many honours were paid to the memory of the 
veteran commander. 

A bust for the United Service Club was executed 
by Mr. G. G. Adams, A.R.A., and, by the Queen's 
desire, submitted for her inspection early in 
December, 1863. 

A bronze statue, also by Mr. Adams, raised by 
the public subscription of noblemen and gentlemen 
of the county and other friends, was unveiled at 


Mount Wise, Devonport, on 2Qth November, 1866. 
It represents Lord Seaton in his Field-Marshal's 
uniform with the baton in his right hand and his left 
resting on his sword, and bears the inscription : 

" In memory of the distinguished career and of 
the stainless character of Field-Marshal Lord 
Seaton, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.H., this monument 
is erected by his friends and comrades." 

Sir Edmund Prideaux, in his speech as Chairman 
of the Memorial Committee, said that to the end of 
his service Lord Seaton had maintained the same 
earnest, uncompromising zeal, the same self- 
devotedness, the same self-denying love of order, 
the same high chivalrous spirit, the simple, yet 
grand dignity which had characterized him 

As far back as 1844 a cairn had been erected by 
the Highlanders of Glengarry on an island in Lake 
St. Francis, in the county of Glengarry, Canada, in 
honour of him whom they considered " The Saviour 
of Canada." In recollection of Lord Seaton's 
command of the 52nd its dimensions were 52 feet 
by 52. 

It was no slight honour that a portrait of Lord 
Seaton should long have hung among the Waterloo 
heroes in Apsley House, and another should be 
keeping his memory alive to future soldiers in the 
United Service Club. 

The tattered colours of the 52nd Regiment were 
sent to the second Lord Seaton in 1868 at the wish 
of the regiment, in memory of the peerless leader 
under whom it had won so many of its laurels. 
They are now honourably preserved at Beechwood. 


The gift was preceded by the following letter from 
General Sir William Rowan : 

" Bath, 

"30th June, 1868. 

" My dear Lord Seaton, The officer commanding the 
52nd Regiment having informed me that new colours have 
been issued to replace those worn out by long service, little 
remaining of them but the bare poles, and being at my 
disposal as colonel of the regiment, he has suggested that 
it might be agreeable to the family of the late Lord Seaton 
to have them deposited near the tomb of the distinguished 
officer who so frequently led that regiment to victory. 
Should this proposal be acceptable to the family, I need 
not say the high gratification it will afford me to give 
the necessary directions for carrying out this mark of 
respect to the memory of an honoured officer and valued 
friend, under whom I had the privilege and happiness to 
serve for so many years. Believe me, my dear Lord 
Seaton, very sincerely yours, 


When Winchester College celebrated its Quin- 
centenary of 1887 by the erection of a school 
museum, four medallions on the outer wall com- 
memorated four Wykehamists of whom Wykehamists 
were most proud. These were Grocyn, Ken, 
Seaton and Selborne. 

A beautiful east window in Sparkwell Church has 
been placed there by the present Lord Seaton in 
memory of his grandfather and grandmother, and 
his father and mother. 

But the fame of John Colborne needs no sucK 
memorials. It belongs to those things which bis 
country will not willingly let die. 

John Colborne was a soldier sans peur et sans 
re-proche. From youth to old age, as he was 


physically one of the noblest types of manhood, so 
he was morally. In all family relations as son, 
stepson, brother, husband, father he was all that it 
was possible for man to be, and he carried with him 
through life the adoring affection and reverence of 
those near to him. Unwearied in self-improvement, 
he made his way partly by innate military genius, but 
greatly by sheer moral effort, unaided by the power of 
money, to the highest rank to which a soldier's 
ambition can aspire. Whatever the motive or the 
means, such success would have commanded respect. 
But in John Colborne there was no self-seeking ; suc- 
cess came as the due of merit, and it was received with 
a touching humility. When a lady heard him, with 
some of his old comrades, talking over some occur- 
rences of the great war, and remarked, " How proud 
you gentlemen must feel at the recollection that you 
had a share in those great events ! " he replied, we 
are told, very gently, " Proud? no, rather humbled, 
I think." Not ambition, but duty, was the guiding 
star of Colborne's life. It was his determination in 
preparing himself in hours of leisure for the crisis 
that was to come, it was his zeal to do his daily work 
to the utmost at all costs to himself, it was his fearless 
disregard of man's favour and his loyalty to the brave 
and good in fair report or foul, that made him one 
on whom others could lean with confidence in the 
crisis of a battle or the turmoil of political revolution. 
" Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving 
the Lord." 

In the heat of action it might be said of him as of 
Wordsworth's warrior, that he was " happy as a 
Lover, and attired with sudden brightness like a 


Man inspired." As has been well remarked, it was in 
those moments that he was probably most truly him- 
self. The grave reserve of the commanding officer 
was then dissolved, so that the 52nd, who were so 
proud of him, said humorously, that he was never 
so pleasant to deal with as in action. In the civil 
commands of his later life any military sternness was 
replaced by the most winning urbanity. 

And beyond these physical and moral qualities, 
v/hich made him a type of ideal manhood, he 
had those flashes of genius not perhaps in his 
secondary occupations as a statesman but certainly 
in his own calling as a soldier, which prompt to 
great deeds. And then what Colborne's " eagle 
eye " saw, Colborne's " iron heart " dared to per- 
form. Let Nivelle and Orthes and Waterloo witness. 

" This is the happy Warrior : this is he 
Whom every man is arms should wish to be." 





" 1 6th March, 1827. 

" My dear Napier, I am afraid you pester yourself too 
much with divisions and the details of their operations. 
Look at the first volume of the Precis M Hit air e. What 
an advantage an author has who disencumbers himself of 
all the stuff that is only fit to enter the journal of a writer 
who intends his work for a few English book-clubs. 

" I entreat you to look over again attentively the last 
memoranda I gave you at Brook Farm, I mean the march 
from Lisbon to Corunna. / think I have mentioned in 
them every occurrence fully as much as the operations of 
those months deserve, and I hope you will only dwell 
particularly on the following points. These I trust will 
appear as prominent as you may judge consistent with 
your work, viz. : 

" I. That when Sir John Moore decided on the 
march of the first brigades to Salamanca he expected 
that Sir D. Baird would have arrived early in 
October in the neighbourhood of Salamanca ; that 
he could not have anticipated the delay occasioned 
by the folly of the Junta of Corunna. That as it 
was more probable that the army would incline towards 
Madrid than to any other point, he was right, in the doubt 


about the practicability of the roads, to march his artillery 
by the Badajos road, as he could easily move all his 
infantry (including the Corunna Division, had it arrived 
at the time he had good reason for supposing it must 
assemble in Castile) to the right to Avila, or to a more 
forward position. 

" 2. That if his force had been collected at Salamanca 
early in October, he positively could not have assisted the 
Spaniards, and that if he had moved towards Madrid he 
probably would have been so entangled with the Spaniards 
that the case must have turned out as hopeless as it did 
afterwards, and the movements of the French would have 
been more concentrated. All this ought to be explained, 
because Jones places great importance on the prolonged 
march of the artillery, and Southey says that Madrid would 
have been saved if Sir John Moore had remained in its 
neighbourhood with his division. 

" 3. That the only operation he undertook was the one 
to serve the cause. For if he had moved into Portugal 
the country was unprepared to make any defence, and ho 
general could have acted with tolerable security without 
some point to which he could retire on. 

" 4. That having been thrown on Gallicia, the best thing 
that he could do was to draw the French after him, and 
to get out of an exhausted country by embarkation. 

I believe I was present at every affair and skirmish from 
Benevente to Corunna, but there was scarcely anything 
that occurred except the cavalry skirmish at Benevente 
that deserves notice. The affair at Lugo was a mere two 
hours' skirmish or reconnaissance. 

" I think the dates of the march of the divisions from 
Sahagun that I have given you are correct. I cannot give 
you the march of each division. In my memoranda that I 
gave to you at Cobham you will find the movements of 
the principal columns correctly stated. On referring to 
my little journal I perceive that headquarters left Sahagun 
on the 25th and marched to Mayorga. Our first skirmish 
on the advance to Sahagun, with the exception of Stewart's 
little affair at Rueda, was on the 2ist of December. The 
following is a copy from my journal.* 

" ' 2 1 st. Marched to Sahagun, five leagues from Val- 

* The copy contains particulars not given in the original Journal, 
which is preserved at Beech wood. 


deras. Lord Paget reached Melgar [de] Abajo with the 
loth and 1 5th Dragoons at 2 this morning. On our arrival 
at Sahagun we found that the French cavalry amounting to 
600 or 700 had come out of Sahagun at daylight and were 
attacked by the i$th Dragoons under Lord Paget, who 
defeated them and took two lieutenant-colonels, 1 1 officers 
and 144 men. I went down with the adjutant of the regi- 
ment and other officers to the ground where the affair took 
place. Lord Paget appeared to have gained a decided 
advantage in charging at the time he did and forcing the 
enemy to receive his charge on the best ground. 

"*25th. Marched from Sahagun to Mayorga. 

" ' 26th. Marched from Mayorga through Fuentes to 
Benevente ; arrived there in the evening. A small party 
of the enemy's cavalry had approached the bridge and 
carried off some of the commissariat cattle. 

" ' 2^th. The general received a report from Lord 
Paget that the enemy's cavalry, having entered Mayorga, 
were followed by part of the loth Dragoons, who charged 
them and took 70 prisoners. The i8th Dragoons fell in 
with another party and took 20 prisoners. The enemy's 
cavalry patrolled as far as the bridge of Castro Gonzalo 
about 6 p.m. 

1 ' 28th. Generals Hope and Fraser retired with their 
divisions towards Astorga. The i8th Dragoons attacked 
a French patrol near Villa Pando, which was afterwards 
the cause of an alarm. 

" ' 2Qth. The reserve marched this morning. Four 
squadrons of the enemy crossed at the ford and attacked 
the picquets, which, on being reinforced, repulsed the 
enemy. Sir J. marched early in the morning. I remained 
till 8 or later. As I was packing up my papers my 
servant informed me that the French had forded the river. 
I rode down towards the river at full speed ; met several 
dismounted troopers and some French officers prisoners. 
The picquets appeared to me retiring in good order, the 
troop of the German Hussars had reinforced the picquets 
and charged the leading French squadrons. The French 
cavalry, formed in four squadrons, were advancing steadily 
towards Benevente. Our picquets were retiring and 
forming up frequently in front of the leading French 
squadron. Some of the troops of the loth Hussars were 
beginning to assemble about 400 yards in rear of the 


" ' At this moment Lord Paget rode up. " You see there 
are not many of them. I wish to draw them on till the 
loth are ready, but I don't know what they may have on 
the other side. Our lads, the picquets, are up to a charge." 
By this time the loth were assembled, and the French 
were a few hundred yards from them, rather to their right. 
Lord Paget wheeled the loth into line, gave the word, 
" Charge ! " I rather think that the French wheeled about 
at the very moment the word " Charge " was given. They 
galloped at full speed in tolerable order towards the 
river, and passing over better ground than the loth did, 
gained some paces on them. Those of the enemy that 
were badly mounted were taken, but the main body 
appeared to me not to be overtaken in their flight. The 
French passed the river in a dense column and formed up 
for a few minutes on the other side. Two guns had 
arrived on the ground at this period, and fired, I believe, 
about two rounds, which sent them up the opposite bank. 
Lefebvre was taken, being badly mounted. A German 
officer told me that he took him, and that Lefebvre 
defended himself, but I did not give credit to his assertion. 
Jansen was the German officer's name. 

' 1st January. Marched from Astorga in the evening. 
I rode out to the cavalry picquets and had [heard?] a few 
shots in front. Arrived at Combrios [Combarros], halted 
a few hours. Marched about midnight on receiving Lord 
Paget's report that the enemy were in force. At Nurenas 
the general wrote to Corunna and Lugo that it was his 
intention that the army should retire on Betanzos. 

2nd. Arrived at Bembybre as Sir David Baird's 
Corps was marching out of it. The enemy's patrols were 
seen by ours during the night. 

" ' 3rd. Marched to Villa Franca. The enemy's cavalry 
entered Bembybre about I p.m., to the number of 600. 
I remained in front of Bembybre till I saw their advanced 
guard. The patrol of the I5th retired before them. The 
reserve halted between Bembybre and Cacabelos to pro- 
tect the stragglers. 

' ' 4th. The enemy's cavalry appeared in great force on 
the heights above Cacabelos about 2 o'clock. Sir J. Moore 
was in Villa Franca. I rode out to the advanced picquet 
of our cavalry. I found the reserve under arms. The 
52nd and 2Oth Regiments were posted on the right and 
left of the road leading to Villa Franca, behind the bridge 


of Cacabelos. The 95th were posted in front of the village 
with the river behind them, under a hill, so that the 
approach of the enemy could not be discovered by them. 
Many staff officers of cavalry were on the road behind the 
cavalry picquet The enemy appeared to have about a 
squadron on the road, and their vedettes were advanced 
close to ours. In this situation we remained about an 
hour. Suddenly I observed our picquet retiring rapidly, 
and all the staff and cavalry officers with them. We all 
met on the bridge together. The passage became blocked 
up by the 95th pressing towards the same point. This 
halt was for a very short space, but the enemy's cavalry 
were approaching at a brisk gallop behind us. Some of 
the 95th got into the houses and, I believe, these were 
taken. I rode up the hill towards Villa Franca. The 
52nd and 2Oth had been withdrawn by order of Sir J. 
Moore to the summit of the hill. Advanced picquets were 
stationed below and fired on the French cavalry that passed 
the bridge. The enemy retired immediately. 

' ' On my arrival on our position I found Sir J. Moore 
there with two battalions and two guns. The guns had 
fired as the enemy passed the bridge. The 95th were 
posted in vineyards to the right of the road, nearer to the 
river than the other battalions. We all took out our 
glasses and observed large masses of cavalry deploying on 
the height in front of Cacabelos. I think I said, or some 
officer said, that there were 20 squadrons. We had a dis- 
pute whether there were infantry or not. About half an 
hour before dark the enemy made a show of passing the 
river in front of the 95th and did push on their skirmishers. 
The 95th commenced a tremendous fire, which I thought 
was unnecessary, which continued till after dark. Sir J. 
Moore ordered the /6th and all that were in Villa Franca 
to march. He desired me to go to Ross and to desire that 
the 2Oth might remain on the road in front of Villa Franca 
till about 10 o'clock. I found all quiet and no appearance 
of the enemy. Sir John Moore marched about half past 9 
and arrived at Herrerias early in the morning, where 
we halted a few hours. It was from this place that Sir J. 
wrote to Baird, Hope and Fraser and Broderick that the 
army would halt at Lugo and assemble there. These 
despatches were forwarded by Captain Napier to Baird 
and sent on by him by a dragoon, who lost them. 

1 ( 5th. Arrived at Nogales. Letters were despatched 

O 2 


again to the generals in the rear and the commissary- 
general to push on provisions for Lugo. 

" ' 6th. The reserve marched from Nogales. The 
vedettes of the enemy appeared about 8 o'clock on the 
high mountain above Nogales. Here, at a short distance 
from the town, a mine was sprung to render the road 
impassable. I remained to see the explosion, but it failed, 
and made a very trifling obstacle. 

' The enemy's cavalry moved on steadily, and did not 
appear in any great force till the evening, about 
2 o'clock. Our column halted on the road about this time 
while the money in the bullock car was thrown over. I 
think I observed about three squadrons near us, and where 
we halted, they showed no disposition to press us. 
Towards the evening we halted again on some advan- 
tageous ground with two pieces of artillery ready to fire. 
The enemy remained at some distance and retired a little 
to their left to shelter their advanced guard. About 
5 or 6 o'clock we retired quickly down the hill in front 
of Sobrado or Constantina and passed the rivulet or river 
before the enemy could discover that we were in full 
retreat. They came on at a brisk trot when we were in 
position and the picquets posted at the bridge skirmished 
with their advanced guard. A few shots were [fired] at 
them from our guns on the position. I observed that the 
cavalry filed off to occupy the different villages on their 
side of the river no appearance of an intention to attack. 
' ' I went down after dark, or as soon as the firing had 
ceased, and visited the bridge, which was blocked up with 
carts. The reserve cooked and halted till after midnight. 

' We marched about an hour after midnight and 
arrived at Lugo early on the 7th.' (Thus says my journal, 
but I see Jones* asserts that we marched from Villa Franca 
to Lugo in 43 hours, which must be a mistake.) 

" Noble'sf book is full of lies and blunders ; his dates, 
however, agree with mine. He confuses the position of 
Constantina, three leagues or more from Lugo, with 
our position in front of Lugo. But I rather 
think I have occasioned the misstatement of Jones, who 

* Sir J. T. Jones in his Account of the War (1818). 
j- Le Noble, the anonymous author of the Campagne des Francah 
en Galice et Portugal, 1809. For this identification I am indebted to 
the kindness of Mr. C. W. C. Oman, Fellow of All Souls'. 

S 1 //? J. MOORE'S CAMPAIGN. 389 

copied from James Moore. Perhaps you can ascertain 
this from George Napier. My journal is correct as to the 
number of hours, but perhaps I have made some mistake 
in the day we marched from Villa Franca. For I see that 
the general order about the ill-conduct of the troops is 
dated ' Headquarters, Lugo, the 6th.' 

" ' ^th. On the 7th the enemy opened a fire from two 
or three field pieces on our right and continued firing the 
greater part of the day. Towards the evening Soult 
pushed on two or three battalions to our position, near the 
centre. The enemy having shown in some force, Sir John 
Moore was on the position, making his arrangements. 
The 5 ist and the 76th Regiments, who were opposite the 
skirmishers of the enemy, gave way, and many of them 
retired, or rather, ran back in confusion. Sir J. Moore 
rode up to C. Crauford, I think, or some colonel or 
general and desired him to send out skirmishers. The 
battalions, or the 500 or 600 men of the enemy, were 
immediately checked. 

" ' Sir J. Moore desired me to place Baird's Divisions on 
the left, which had received orders to march from their 
quarters. I rode to the left and met the head of the 
column. On my return I found everything quiet. Sir J. 
Moore imagined that this reconnaissance was preparatory 
to an attack in the morning. He gave orders for the 
different divisions to be under arms early on the 8th. 

( ' 8th. The enemy on the 8th made no appearance 
that indicated an attack. The corps commenced their 
retreat from Lugo in the evening. Lord William 
Bentinck's Division and some of Baird's Corps did not 
get into the high road until I or 2 o'clock in the morning 
of the gth. 

' ' gth. The army halted at Valmonde or Valmeda 
continued the retreat on the night of the gth. There was 
more confusion on this night than on any other, from the 
circumstances which have been mentioned already, viz., 
from the permission given by Baird to halt on the road 
during a storm, and from the men being allowed to shelter 
themselves under the hedges adjoining the road, so that 
when orders [were] given to resume the march many regi- 
ments did not muster 100 men. The stragglers amounted 
to, perhaps, 1,500. 

' loth. These were pressed hard by the French 
cavalry the greater part of the day. We had a small 


rearguard of cavalry, but I should think not more than 
a squadron. Grant, of the I5th, I know was present, and 
attempted to form up a body of stragglers that checked 
the enemy. But there was no affair of cavalry between 
Lugo and Betanzos. Sir E. Paget halted about two miles 
from Betanzos and continued in that position, I believe, 
the whole night. The main body of cavalry had marched 
on to Corunna. 

"' nth. On the nth January the army marched from 
Betanzos. The 28th Regiment halted at the end of the 
town while the engineer was superintending the com- 
pletion of a mine to destroy the bridge. The French 
cavalry advanced at a brisk trot through the streets at 
this moment. One company of the 28th opened a fire and 
they immediately retired. The column on this day retired 
without being molested. The Guards and Fane's Brigade 
marched into Corunna, Hope's Division remained at El 
Burgo. The bridge over the Mero was destroyed on the 
12th. The other divisions were quartered in villages 
between El Burgo and Corunna. 

" * 1 2th. On the I2th Sir J. Moore examined El Burgo 
and rode over the heights of Portoso, but he imagined 
that he could not occupy this position as he could not 
cover the St lago road, and [on account of] the great 
distance between Portoso and Corunna. 

'" 1 3th. Beckwith retired from the Mero on the I3th, 
but was ordered to reoccupy El Burgo. The bridges 
over the Mero were destroyed. An officer of Engineers 
lost his life in mining the bridge near Cambri. 

' 1 4th. The advanced guard of the enemy passed the 
Mero on the I4th. 

' 1 5th. On the I5th he took possession of the heights. 
The transports from Vigo were in sight on the evening 
of the 1 4th. 

' 1 6th. On the i6th, soon after Sir J. Moore arrived 
on the ground, I observed the enemy descending from 
their position in three masses, preceded by numerous skir- 
mishers. Our picquets were at this time retiring in some 
confusion. Sir J. Moore desired me to ride to Sir E. 
Paget and to tell him to advance on the enemy's left, as 
he had agreed with him, and to tell Fane to draw out his 
brigade on the St. lago road. On my return I found 
several companies of the 5oth and 42nd retiring, and that 
Sir J. Moore had been wounded There was a heavy fire 


from behind all the hedges and enclosures, but scarcely 
any considerable force could be discovered on either side. 
The French maintained a heavy fire from their field-pieces 
on the position, directing them chiefly on the mounted 
officers. The enemy appeared to me to be retiring at 
every point towards their own position. 

"* i;th. On the i/th the enemy did not appear till 
7 o'clock, when a small corps of cavalry advanced 
cautiously. About three in the evening the enemy brought 
forward a few field-pieces to the high ground near the 
water and opened a fire on some of the transports near 
the citadel. At this moment I was about to embark/ 

" I have copied an old journal which was written in great 
haste, and have related the substance of that which came 
under my own view. The whole of Noble's account is 
false. The absurd stuff about Betanzos being intended to 
be destroyed must be his own invention. It may be 
asserted safely that we never saw the enemy on the march 
in any force except at Lugo, and that all their fighting 
was with the stragglers. 

*' The bridge of Castro Gonzalo was burnt. I believe 
you know more about this than I do. Crauford superin- 
tended it. With respect to the Engineers' tools, I heard 
Pasley complaining of the want of them. There was at 
that time no staff corps or any establishment attached to 
that department, and all work of mining was performed 
by working parties, and tools were issued by the Quarter- 
master-General's Department or by the Commissariat. 
At Astorga, I believe, among the camp equipage 
destroyed, the entrenching tools shared the same fate. 

" The next bridge attempted to be destroyed was not 
far from Nogales, on the Rio Herrerias, but when the 
bridge was proposed to be destroyed Sir J. Moore himself 
rather objected to it, knowing the river could be forded a 
few hundred yards below. 

" The next bridge was between Lugo and Betanzos, I 
believe over the Mino. Jones has exaggerated the 
occurrences on this day's march. 

" We may affirm that all the straggling before the march 
from Lugo was of that kind which is common to all British 
columns, and that the stragglers up to that day were 
chiefly composed of drunkards. Two divisions which were 
quartered in the villages near the position in front of Lugo 
marched by a narrow lane instead of at once striking into 


the main road. Thus marching on this bad road on a 
dark night the rear of the column was not far from Lugo 
till two o'clock on the morning of the Qth. But even this 
was not of much importance ; for the whole had passed 
the river and halted three leagues from Lugo before one 
o'clock p.m. I observed few stragglers that had not passed 
the river, and arrived at the bivouac near Venta Bahamondo 
or Venta de Guteniz before 2 p.m. 

" The French did not enter Lugo before 9 o'clock 
and were not seen during this march. There was a small 
rearguard of cavalry. The columns marched about 7 
or 8 o'clock on the evening of the gth. The weather 
was dreadful and it rained the whole night, and in the 
divisions that were suffered to halt during the night and 
put in motion before half the men were assembled there 
was a great deal of confusion, and during the whole of 
this day there were many that could not find their divi- 
sions. Two regiments (the 59th, I believe, was one) did 
not arrive at Betanzos with more than 150 men. Sir J. 
Moore passed these dispersed divisions early in the 
morning. From this imprudent halt alone arose all the 
horrors which Jones ascribes unjustly to hard marching. 
It is evident that the reserve marched in perfect order, 
although the different corps of that division had more 
work than the others. Thus, if the generals of division 
had been more expert, the divisions would have arrived 
at Corunna without ever once seeing the enemy except 
at Lugo. 

" The reserve halted in a good position in front of 
Betanzos. I rode out to Sir E. Paget and everything 
appeared in perfect order, but stragglers were passing in 
great numbers. Jones says that he could discover nothing 
like an organized army. 

" On the I oth we halted 

" At Betanzos a mine was sprung at the end of the 
town on the road leading to Corunna. This detained the 
French cavalry some time. The divisions marched in one 
column and everything appeared to go on very regularly. 
The cavalry retired to Corunna independently. There 
could have been nothing but a rearguard [affair?] between 
Lugo and Corunna, and no kind of skirmish took place. 
The 76th were at Villa Franca, the 59th and 5ist, I 
believe, did not march further than Lugo nor the 23rd; 
but I am not quite certain of this. 


" You are nearly right in your estimate of the army at 
Lugo. However, I think the cavalry fit for service must 
have been under 1,500. You are nearly right in your 
estimate of the combatants at Corunna, viz., 14,600. 
Noble's plan of the battle appears correct, and, I think, 
better than ours. 

" Sir J. Moore, you must recollect, moved in the direction 
of Mayorga to ensure his junction with Baird, and from 
that place to Carrion by Sahagun, and by the direct road, 
there is not more than four or five miles difference. But 
as a good place to concentrate, and a short distance to 
march from and to communicate with Romana at Mavilla, 
Sahagun was preferable to Mayorga to march from with 
an intention of making an attack. Besides, Sir J. Moore 
had the choice of marching on Saldanha at the same time. 

" Sir John Moore would probably have pushed on Sir 
E. Paget further and supported him with Fane's Brigade 
had he ... 

" I think you should dwell much on his intention of 
going to Vigo to put everything right, and on the folly of 
Baird's allowing the signal to be hoisted for all the trans- 
ports to steer for England before the officers had been 
trans-shipped to their own battalions, &c. 

" I am sorry I cannot give you a better account of the 
march ; but in the papers which I gave you at Cobham 
and the preceding ones describing the march from Lisbon, 
I took great care that the dates were correct by comparing 
them with old records. I recollect having had some dis- 
cussion about the date of the 6th and 7th January some 
years since. Jones has copied most of his narrative from 
James Moore, and assumed that as the data of his argu- 
ments. The order dated ' Lugo, the gth ' is certainly a 
mistake. I have written this in much haste to save the 
packet, so that I fear you will have as much trouble in 
reading it as I had in deciphering yours. 

" Do read Southey's second volume. He has completely 
ruined his character as an historian. His work ought to 
be reviewed immediately. I will transmit to you what 
I think should be published respecting his errors and 
bitterness against Sir John. That story about Bonaparte's 
having said that he would have shot Soult if he had issued 
his proclamation declaring himself King of Portugal I 
suspect to be one of his ridiculous anecdotes for which he 
has no authority. He states that Sir John Moore's move- 


ments had some effect, but not by any means in pro- 
portion to ' the sacrifice ' he made, and that if he had 
fought in Gallicia the Spaniards would have attacked 
Madrid ! ! Against this statement we have only to produce 
St. Infantado's letters. However, his book will save you 
much trouble. Do not be disheartened. The important 
documents will always make your work the best that has 
been circulated. Yours sincerely, 





" The depreciation of the services of Sir John Moore and 
the defence of Mr. Frere seems the grand object of 
Mr. Southey's work. It is this bias that has induced him to 
assert with dogmatical presumption that ' Sir John Moore 
wanted faith in the courage of British soldiers/ a general 
that had confided in it more than any other, and that had 
fought with them in the first rank from his youth, and 
directed the most glorious and arduous operations of the 
British army. 

" Mr. Frere conducted himself, we think, as a con- 
scientious and well-intentioned Minister, but he participated 
in the delusion and blindness of the Spanish Government, 
and his official letters and documents seem to partake of 
the arrogance of his patron and poet. He certainly 
deserves many of the eulogiums passed upon him, but if 
Mr. Southey has attempted to wind him up at the expense 
of a man whose reputation was basely sacrificed to party 
spirit, who had devoted his whole life and energies to his 
country and profession, whose ability and decision did 
materially aid the Spanish people, he has for ever forfeited 
any claim he might have had to the character of a just and 
diligent historian, and far better would it have been for his 
fame had he never ventured beyond his strength beyond 


the Remains of Henry Kirke White and the precincts of 



" A battle should not be fought except an important 
object is to be gained. Sir John Moore had taken the 
lead with an inferior force, and the movements of his 
adversary became subordinate to his. In uniting the 
British army and directing it with the aid of Romana's 
Division against an isolated corps, he effected a total 
change in the enemy's combinations. He was aware that 
no consideration but the actual crisis at which Spanish 
affairs had arrived should induce him to give up Portugal 
and his communications with Lisbon. On military 
principles he perceived his movement was faulty, yet a 
glorious cause and the representations of the Spanish 
authorities, the attention he was bound to pay to their 
reports of the exertions they were making on the Tagus, 
in La Mancha and Estremadura, demanded that a trial 
of the activity and perseverance of the provinces should 
be made. His friend, Mr. Stuart, informed him that a 
retrograde movement on Portugal would produce an effect 
not less serious than the most decisive victory [of the 

" His offensive movement, then, was founded on the 
exaggerated statements from Aranjuez, Toledo and the 
southern provinces. He drew the principal mass of the 
hostile force on him, but he attracted it from Saragossa, 
from the capital, from the pursuit of the hunted divisions 
of Castanos, St. Juan and Galuzzo ; he protected the 
straggling mob of Blake and gave Romana an opportunity 
of organizing it. He might defeat Soult and destroy his 
corps or some of the divisions of the 8th Corps on the 
march to Madrid. 

" The most important part of his project had been 
accomplished ; to risk his army in carrying into effect a 
secondary operation from which a certain loss would have 
been sustained without an important result might have 
suited the tactics of Cuesta, Venegas, Carbaojal and 
Arezaga, but not those of an officer of experience. 

" In few cases can a commander be justified in bringing 
on an action to save what is termed the ' honour of the 

396 APPENDIX /. 

nation. 1 Why should Sir John Moore, who had gained his 
first object, and then found it necessary to conduct his 
army by a retrograde movement and steadily pursued his 
purpose, lose his army to increase his own reputation ? " 


" In no one movement during the whole campaign were we 
able to prevent straggling to an immense amount Luckily 
we generally advanced when we recovered our stragglers. 
In every British army the great majority of the men are 
well-conducted, brave, the best soldiers ; by practice they 
become intelligent and [excellent] in every respect. I 
suppose the army given up by the Duke of Wellington at 
Bordeaux was the most compact and movable army that 
had ever been assembled. But let us not suppose that to 
the very last we effected [the putting down of straggling] ; 
the disease of straggling was incurable. The system of 
recruiting is so defective and so radically bad that in every 
regiment we must say there are from 50 to 100 bad 
characters that neither punishment nor any kind of 
discipline can restrain. In quarters they are kept in some 
measure restrained, but the moment the army is in move- 
ment they separate from their regiment. Their object is 
to march independently and ultimately to get into some 
hospital. So that for the most part these kind of characters 
are absent and unserviceable. 

" So that in this campaign, when we talk of disorder 
and disorganization, the disorganization was confined 
entirely to this species of straggling occasioned by 
drunkards, or a preference to march independently and 
overtake their divisions at their leisure. We appeal to 
every regiment on this retreat whether there was any 
disobedience or disorder but this. The divisions of Hope 
and Fraser being a head one and Sir D. Baird's being 
ahead of the corps which covered the retreat these divi- 
sions never having seen the enemy till their arrival at 
Lugo proves that the rapidity of the march was not the 
cause of the [straggling], besides, the stragglers of the 
covering [corps], which had to fight, were comparatively 
fewer; and the whole march was performed with great 
regularity. We must except one night, the night after the 
march to Lugo, but this was purely accidental." 




" 109, Eaton-square, 
"28th May, 1850. 

" My dear Lady Napier, In reply to your queries, you 
must first be made acquainted that when Sir J. Moore was 
assured that Napoleon was in full march in search of him, 
he despatched Colonel Fletcher, Commanding Engineer, 
with instructions to visit Vigo, Betanzos, Corunna and 
Ferrol, and report on the facilities or advantages offered 
at each of those places as points of embarkation for jtroops 
pursued by an enemy. At Lugo, I believe, Fletcher 
returned with his report, and on the night of our arrival 
read it to the Military Secretary half asleep from fatigue. 
In the morning early it was laid before the Commander-in- 
Chief. Sir J. Moore had many years before been employed 
by the Duke of York at the desire of the Minister of the 
day in making an inspection of the coast in the vicinity 
of Ferrol, and from his own recollection imagined that 
vessels tacking out of the river would be exposed to the 
fire of an enemy. 

" Corunna, therefore, was decided on under the circum- 
stances of the case, as the point from which troops could 
embark with less risk and with reference to the stand 
which might be safely made at Betanzos en route, and its 
short distance from Corunna, and the march which could 
easily and safely be accomplished by the columns retiring 
from that position. The needless march and countermarch 
of Fraser's Division, the slow progress of the several corps 
in retiring from the position taken up at Lugo, the forced 
night march and imprudent halt of Baird's Division and 
consequent dispersion of the troops in barns and sheltered 
fields, determined Sir J. Moore to continue his march 
with as little delay as possible from Betanzos in the expec- 
tation of seeing the transports in the Bay of Corunna 
prepared to receive artillery, baggage and troops. Yours 
very sincerely, 


( 398 ) 



TORONTO, 1835). 

" To establish the precise time when the battle was no 
longer doubtful and the movements which were the 
immediate cause of hastening the crisis is the object of 
the writer. And as he is persuaded that the movements of 
Sir H. Clinton's Division and of General Adam's Brigade, 
and of the 52nd Regiment in particular, tended greatly to 
hasten the crisis, it is necessary to describe the several 
positions of the division from half-past three o'clock to 
half-past seven, fixing from seven to half-past seven as 
the critical half hour, but time passes so quickly in an 
action, and everyone is so occupied in performing his own 
duty, that it will be difficult to find persons agree as to 
time. However that may be, it is clear that while the 
columns of Napoleon, which made the unsuccessful attack 
on the ' point which is usually called our right centre, 
advanced in full march towards the troops occupying our 
centre (the Brunswickers retiring and the British Guards 
closing in), no one who was looking steadfastly at the 
movements of the Imperial Guards at that time could say 
that the battle did not look critical, or but that the Imperial 
Guards had the appearance of success, and also that our 
centre was on the point of being penetrated. This, then, 
we must fix as the time when no change for the better on 



our side had taken place, and that we were in the greatest 
danger; but the moment the Imperial Guards halted and 
formed square in consequence of a menaced attack on 
their left flank, our prospects were immediately changed 
for the better. It was the ' crisis,' and half an hour after- 
wards, when they were thrown into confusion and they 
retreated towards ' La Belle Alliance/ the battle was won. 
They had no reserve formed worth the name of a reserve. 
All attacks of cavalry or infantry after that moment were 
the necessary consequence of the flight and the endeavour 
to save such part of the crew of the wreck as could be 
brought off without incurring further risk. 

" Therefore, however splendid the conduct of any corps 
might have been, after the first flight of the French, in 
reaping the fruits of the victory and in completing the 
rout of the retiring columns, they took no part in the 
critical affair on the plateau of La Haye Sainte or plain 
below it which the left flank of Napoleon's columns 

"Assuming that the three regiments, the 52nd, 7 1st and 
95th passed the cross-road which runs a few hundred yards 
in rear of La Haye Sainte and forms an acute angle with 
the Nivelles road, at half-past three or four o'clock, the 
52nd halted in the low ground three or four hundred yards 
in front of that road, and about 700 yards from the nearest 
angle of Hougomont. Remaining there an hour, the 52nd 
Regiment, being a strong regiment, formed two squares, 
the 7 ist formed square 200 yards to the right of the 52nd, 
and on the approach of the French cavalry towards the 
7 1st, the 95th, apparently not more than two companies, 
formed close to the rear of the 52nd. Colonel Nicolay 
of the staff corps and several officers ran into the square 
of the 52nd. Two of the enemy's guns were on the high 
bank or ridge in front of the 52nd, apparently about 200 
yards from the squares ; but were only to be seen by the 
mounted officers. A mounted officer, Sir John Colborne, 
who had ascertained the exact position of these guns, 
called out from the commencement of the ascent to a 
captain of the 52nd to say whether he could see the guns 
from his part of the square. These guns and a howitzer 
fired constantly on the squares. The right and front faces 
of the right square of the 52nd opened a fire obliquely 
on the French Cuirassiers, who made a movement towards 
the rear of Hougomont, towards the 7ist The remainder 


of Clinton's Division were formed to the rear of the right 
of the 7 ist Regiment. 

" The Duke of Wellington sent a message to the 52nd 
by Colonel Hervey to retire up the hill, about half-past 
five; but Colonel Hervey was requested by Sir John 
Colborne to inform the Duke that the regiment was not 
in danger from the guns in front, if the order was given 
from the apparent vicinity of the guns. However, on the 
Nassau Regiment, or some of the allied troops, running 
rapidly out of the wood of Hougomont towards our line, 
the 52nd prepared to retire and form two lines the right 
sub-divisions forming one line and the left sub-divisions 
the other and retired rapidly up the hill towards the 
cross-road which they had crossed an hour before. While 
they were retiring, a field officer of the Cuirassiers galloped 
out of the enemy's columns and came at full speed down 
the hill towards the 52nd, hallooing lustily, ' Vive le Rot! ' 
as he approached. This officer pointed out the spot where 
Napoleon was and where the Imperial Guards were on 
the march to make a grand attack. The 52nd halted in 
two lines about 10 yards behind the cross-road where the 
ground sloped towards our position. The officer of the 
Cuirassiers pointed out to the officer commanding the 
52nd, Sir John Colborne, the exact spot where Napoleon 
was with the Imperial Guards. The guns under Colonel 
Gould* on the cross-road were all silent, there was scarcely 
any firing except in the rear of La Haye Sainte and on 
that part of our centre. The dense columns of the French 
were in full march on the plateau of La Haye Sainte, near 
the farm, and the flank of the columns at this time appeared 
to form a right angle with the 52nd, supposing the left 
of the line of the 52nd to be prolonged. A few minutes 
before this an officer, Sir John Colborne, had occasion to 
look at his watch and said, ' The wounded had better be 
left where they are, the action must be over in half an 
hour. 1 Therefore, at seven, we will say, the $2nd wheeled 
the left company nearly a quarter of a circle to the 
left and formed the remainder on the new line, with 
the intention of moving on the left -flank of the Imperial 
column and -firing into the column to retard the movement. 
The 52nd thus, at seven o'clock, were formed into two 
lines, not four deep, but each left sub-division in rear of 

* Lieut.-Colonel C. Gold. 


its right, the whole forming two complete lines, the rear 
line keeping the wheeling distance of a sub-division from 
the front line. At this time the 95 th, apparently a small 
number, formed on the left of the 52nd. A strong com- 
pany of the 52nd was sent to skirmish in front and to fire 
into the Imperial column. At this moment General Adam 
came to the 52nd from the /ist, seeing the 52nd moving 
on. The Duke, it appears, at the same time had sent 
Colonel Percy to the 52nd. The 52nd, however, were 
already in motion, its right flank totally unprotected, and 
moved off in two lines well formed, and covered by skir- 
mishers commanded by Lieutenants Anderson and 
Campbell, who had directions to push on and look to the 
whole battalion as their support. 

" Whether the 95 th moved off with the 52nd is not 
certain. They certainly did not continue on the left 
flank the whole time of the march towards the front The 
5 2nd moved steadily on. The instant the French columns 
felt the fire of Anderson's skirmishers they halted, appeared 
to be in some confusion, and opened a heavy fire on the 
52nd. The two officers of the skirmishers were wounded 
and the greater part of the men ; the right of the battalion 
also suffered severely. The 52nd still moved on, passing 
the entire front of Byng's* Brigade of British Guards (who 
were stationary and not firing) at about 300 yards or so 
in front of them, and forming probably a right angle, or 
perhaps an obtuse angle, with the line of the Guards. 

"At the moment the 52nd commenced the movement 
Lord Hill was near the British Guards commanded by 
Maitland, and no movement on their part had then taken 
place. Therefore it is imagined that when the 52nd com- 
menced the movement they were shortly followed by the 
7 1st and the whole of Clinton's Division the Imperial 
troops saw that their flank and rear were menaced by a 
mass of troops they halted ; but the moment this halt 
took place our centre also made a forward movement, 
which was resisted by the attacking corps of the French. t 
The 52nd in the meantime had proceeded to within a 
short distance of the rising ground on which the French 

* Most of Byng's own brigade was at Hougomont. Colborne means 
Maitland's Brigade, with whom Byng was, as he had succeeded to 
the command of the whole division through Cooke's being wounded. 

j- Colborne means that he imagines whatever movement was made 
by the Guards, took place at this time. 


were formed, when a body of British cavalry were per- 
ceived at full speed approaching the front of the left 
company of the 52nd.* The officer of the company gave 
orders to fire, "supposing they had come from the enemy's 
column. The three adjoining companies wheeled back 
to form square. The battalion at the time was under a 
heavy fire from the Imperial Guards, and the regiment was 
halted for a few minutes to enable the companies to 
rectify their line. At this moment while the three com- 
panies were forming up, the Duke was close in the rear 
and said, ' Well, never mind go on, go on ! ' This halt 
brought the ?ist, which corps had not been so much 
exposed to the fire as the 52nd, close on the right of the 
52nd. The 52nd then advanced at full speed. The 
greater part of the French gave way in confusion, but 
some remained formed close to the deep road running 
direct from La Haye Sainte to La Belle Alliance. Captain 
Cross called out, ' They are coming over, don't fire ! ' The 
French, however, opened a straggling fire, some running 
across the road and a few remaining till the 52nd were 
within six or seven yards of them. The whole of the 52nd 
charged briskly till they were impeded by the deep road, 
when they halted for a minute or two till they received the 
word to pass. They had some difficulty in getting over. 
When they had passed they formed line and wheeled to 
the right. Sir John Colborne's horse was here shot, and 
he mounted one of the gun horses. They found a gun 
on the plateau fully horsed and moved on in line, keeping 
their right on the road, and passed La Belle Alliance, and 
were joined by the skirmishers at the head of Billow's 
Corps, which shortly after that came obliquely from the 

"In the meantime the ?ist had proceeded towards 
Rossomme and did not pass the road where the 52nd did 
The whole of Sir H. Clinton's Division, the moment the 
French were observed in retreat and in confusion, had 
struck to their right towards Rossomme. The 52nd 
passed about 80 pieces of cannon and tumbrils within a 
quarter of an hour after they had passed the Charleroi 
road from Waterloo. The skirmishing or attack that took 
place in the retreat from Rossomme or Planchenoit, the 
52nd took no part in ; they halted when the evening 

* See p. 227 n. 


closed. Billow's corps in column passed the 52nd after 
the regiment had halted. 

" The writer has never been on the ground since ; but 
he is positive, as far as his memory can be relied on, that 
these facts are correctly stated, and is thus certain that no 
corps whatever passed between the 52nd and the French 
from the time the 52nd moved on the flank of the French, 
for the 52nd were under a heavy fire the whole time and 
were opposed to the moment they touched the Charleroi 
road. When they were formed to the left of the Charleroi 
road no corps was near them. The only corps of cavalry 
near the 52nd or the French column during the attack 
was the regiment of cavalry that moved in the direction of 
the left company of the 52nd. Thus it appears that the 
movement to which Sir H. Vivian alludes* must have been 
the attack made in retreat, and that all the troops that 
came in contact with the French must have moved across 
the track of the 52nd in their movement from the cross- 
road to the Charleroi road and while the 52nd were 
charging up to the plateau of La Haye Sainte." 

Note by Sir William Rowan: "When the 52nd had 
halted and taken up its ground for the night I went to 
look for my brother. ... At some distance in the 
rear I fell in with the Guards, also halted with piled arms. 
While talking to Captain Davies, formerly of the 52nd, 
Sir John Byng came up and said, ' We saw the 52nd 
behaving nobly, as it always has done.' " W. R. 



" Kitley, Yealmpton, 

" 22nd February, 1843. 

" I have been so fully occupied since the year 1815 that 
I have seldom had time or inclination to read any of the 
accounts of the battle of Waterloo. Indeed, it has always 
been a most unpleasant task to refer to our past military 
operations, which are connected with many painful 

* In his controversy with Colonel Gawler in the United Service 
Journal, 1833, Pt. II., p. 315, &c. 


" I have cautiously abstained from giving opinions on 
controverted points that would draw me into discussions. 
I think, however, that it almost becomes my duty to give 
you every assistance in my power to enable you to com- 
pare the facts in my statement with the information which 
you have received from various sources, and to correct the 
errors which appear in the account you have forwarded to 

" We were all so intent in performing our own parts 
that we are disposed to imagine that the brigade or corps 
with which we were engaged played a most distinguished 
part, and attribute more importance to the movements 
under our own immediate observation than they deserved. 
I am persuaded that none but mounted officers can give 
a correct account of the battle, and very few of those had 
an opportunity of seeing much beyond the limited space 
which they traversed. 

" I have, in great haste, from the impressions which I 
strongly retain at this moment, written down the principal 
facts which occurred under my observation, a kind of 
log-book from 1 1 o'clock to the close of the action. . . . 
I remain, &c., 


Memoranda : 

" Kitley, 

" 24th February, 1843. 

"It was eleven o'clock when our batteries (of 20 guns, 
I believe) in position on the rising ground to our left of 
Hougomont opened their fire on a column advancing on 

" The French commandant of the Premier Legere men- 
tioned to me a few days after the battle that he was in 
the front of that column, and that the first shot from our 
guns killed and wounded three of his regiment. At this 
time several shots reached the 52nd Regiment, then 
halted in column to the rear of the road leading to Merbe 
Braine and the point of intersection of that road and the 
Nivelles road. 

" Desirous of seeing the commencement of the action, 
I rode with Colonel Rowan to a commanding eminence. 
My attention was directed to the French Lancers, which 
showed themselves near the cross-road leading to Braine- 


la-Leud, and cheering. After this cheer a large space of 
our position to the left of Hougomont appeared covered 
with our dispersed cavalry, rapidly retiring. Two large 
masses of French cavalry followed them in good order. 
They passed the batteries of 20 guns to which I have 
referred, which appeared abandoned and had ceased to 

" I returned to the 52nd Regiment, which was on the 
march in column and advancing towards the cross-road 
that connects the high road from Genappe to Waterloo 
and the road from Nivelles to Waterloo. The 52nd 
continued its march to the valley which separated the 
right central part of our position from the enemy and 
halted about 500 yards in front of the cross-road. I rode 
up the opposite ascent and observed two guns pointed and 
firing at our column. I returned and called out to Captain 
Shedden, the officer leading the column, and desired him 
to tell me whether he could see these guns. I formed two 
squares on the appearance of the masses of heavy cavalry 
to our right, but nearer to the /ist Regiment than to the 

" Several shells fell near the left angle of our more 
advanced square and the left side of it was grazed by 
a sharp fire. Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Rowan was 
anxious to take the command of the left square, in which 
Colonel Chalmers was, but on my acquainting him that 
I should superintend both the squares, he remained, at 
my request, with me. The front and right faces of this 
square opened fire on the French Cuirassiers advancing 
towards us, and the French cavalry halted and retired and 
appeared in disorder. 

" Colonel Hervey, one of the Duke of Wellington's aides- 
de-camp, brought up an order from the Duke for the 52nd 
to retire up the hill. I mentioned to him that if the Duke 
had ordered us to retire with reference to our exposed 
position, that we were protected by the ground in front. 

' Very well/ he replied, ' I will mention this.' How- 
ever, soon after I had received this order I heard a great 
noise and clamour in the direction of Hougomont, and 
observed the Nassau Regiment, I believe, running in dis- 
order out of the wood ; and supposing that Hougomont 
would be abandoned and our flank would be exposed, I 
formed columns from squares and wheeled into two lines, 
and this formation being completed we faced about and 


retired in two lines through the Belgian guns under the 
command of Colonel Gould,* and as we were ascending 
the hill a French colonel of the Cuirassiers galloped out 
of the French ranks, holloaing out, ' Vive le Roil ' 
repeatedly, and rode up to me, addressed [me] and said, 
' Ce Napoleon est la avec les Gardes. Voila fattaque 
qui se -fait' This officer remained with me for some time. 

" On our arriving near the cross-road on the summit of 
the hill, near the Belgian guns, I halted the 52nd. Many 
of our wounded were lying a few paces in our front. My 
anxious attention had been attracted to the dense columns 
moving on the Genappe road towards the centre of our 
position, and observing their rapid advance I ordered our 
left-hand company to wheel to the left and formed the 
remaining companies on that company. Colonel Charles 
Rowan assisted in completing this formation, with whom 
I had had some conversation on the intended movement 
and on the necessity of menacing the flank of the French 

" This movement placed us nearly parallel with the 
moving columns of the French Imperial Guards. I 
ordered a strong company to extend in our front, and at 
this moment Sir F. Adam rode up and asked me what 1 
was going to do. I think I said, ' To make that column 
feel our Ere.' Sir F. Adam then ordered me to move on 
and that the ?ist should follow, and rode away towards 
the 7 1 st. 

" I instantly ordered the extended company of the 52nd, 
about 100 men under the command of Lieutenant 
Anderson, to advance as quickly as possible without any 
support except from the battalion, and to fire into the 
French column at any distance. Thus the 52nd formed 
in two lines of half-companies, the rear line at 10 paces' 
distance from the front, after giving three cheers, followed 
the extended company, passed along the front of the 
Brigade of Guards in line, commanded by Sir John Byng, 
and about 500! yards in front of them. If our line had 
been produced it would have formed an obtuse angle with 
this Brigade of Guards. 

" I observed that as soon as the French columns were 
sharply attacked by our skirmishers, a considerable part 

* Colonel Gold's guns were British, 
f Siborne adds a ? 


of the column halted and formed a line facing towards 
the 52nd and opened a very sharp fire on the skirmishers 
and on the battalion. The only skirmishers, I think, that 
were out on that day from our brigade were those of the 
52nd which I have mentioned, but I am certain that none 
fired but those of the 52nd. Three or four companies of 
the 95th were formed on our left, rather to the rear of our 
line ; the remainder of the brigade, the 7 1 st, must have 
been at least 600 yards to the rear* when the 52nd com- 
menced its movement towards the Imperial Guards ; but 
I think I observed the /ist moving on, as well as the 
whole of Sir H. Clinton's Division, when we had advanced 
a few hundred paces. 

" I have no doubt that the fire on the flank of the 
French column from the 52nd skirmishers and the 
appearance of a general attack on its flank from 
Sir F. Adam's Brigade and Sir H. Clinton's Division 
generally, was the cause of the first check received, 
or halt made, by the Imperial Guards. The 52nd 
suffered severely from the fire of the enemy; the loss of 
skirmishers was severe and the two officers of the com- 
pany were wounded. The right wing of the 52nd lost 
nearly 1 50 men during the advance ; the officer carrying 
the regimental colour was killedt 

" At this moment two or three squadrons of the 23rd 
Dragoons appeared directly in front of the line of the 
52nd, approaching rapidly towards the line. The two 
companies on the left halted and fired into them, supposing 
them to be the enemy's cavalry. My horse was wounded ; 
I called out to the adjutant to stop the fire, and whilst we 
were rectifying this mistake which had occurred, the only 
one that had occurred during the day, and which inter- 
rupted our march, the Duke of Wellington came to the 
rear of the left of our line near the two companies which 
had fired. I said to his Grace, ' It is our own cavalry which 
has caused this firing/ His Grace replied, ' Never mind, 
go on, go on.' We continued our advance, which soon 
brought us under the hill or ascent occupied by the 
Imperial Guards, and we found ourselves protected from 
their fire by the hill. Our line, from the badness of the 

* Sibornesays " not more than 150 yards." 

f According to Leeke (p. 38), Ensign Nettles was killed while the 
52nd was retiring just before the attack by the Imperial Guards. 


ground and the interruption to which I have alluded, had 
thrown the two right-hand companies into some disorder, 
and I, suspecting the French cavalry were not far from 
our right, called out to the officers commanding Nos. I and 
2 Companies to halt and bring up their companies in good 
line, and whilst I was restraining the disorderly impetu- 
osity of these companies under great excitement, several 
officers in front, Colonel Churchill and Colonel Chalmers, 
were cheering and w r aving their hats and caps in front. 

"At this time the 7 1st formed on our right flank and I 
ordered the bugles to sound the advance and the whole 
line charged up the hill, and on our arriving at the edge 
of the deep road, the opposite side of which the Imperial 
Guards had occupied, the 52nd fired, at least, most of 
the companies. We observed the enemy in great con- 
fusion, some firing, others throwing away their packs and 
running to the rear. 

" Captain Cross called out that the French soldiers near 
us were going to surrender, but on their continuing to fire 
on us, I ordered the 52nd Regiment to ' pass the road,' and 
the whole passed through the guns and carriages, &c., and 
we formed columns of companies, our right resting on the 
road to Genappe. We moved on in column and passed, 
I think, 80 guns or carriages in about 10 minutes after 
this new formation. No cavalry whatever could be seen 
on our left or to the left of the Genappe road, and I am 
sure that no British cavalry were between us and the 
French for the last hour of the battle. I think, therefore, 
that the attacks of our cavalry at this time must have been 
made by the cavalry which had passed in rear of the 52nd 
and to the right of the Genappe road. 

" I observed smoke and firing towards Planchenoit and 
to the right and left of the Genappe road. The ;ist did 
not cross the Genappe road but moved to the right as well 
as part of [the other brigade of] Sir H. Clinton's Division. 

" At the junction of the Genappe road and the road 
leading, I believe, from Wavre to Nivelles, the skirmishers 
of the 52nd and the advance of the Prussians under 
General Billow mixed. When we passed this point it was 
nearly dark. We halted a few hundred yards from it and 
the whole of General Billow's Corps passed our right on 
the road leading to Genappe. 

" The Duke of Wellington, on returning, I suppose, 
from Belle Alliance, passed the left of our column and 


inquired for me and left a message that we were to halt 
for the night. 

" Sir John Byng mentioned to me at Paris that he 
observed our movement in front of his brigade, and that 
at this time his brigade had no ammunition left. Lord 
Hill mentioned to me also that he was near the Brigade 
of Guards when he observed the 52nd moving across the 
plain, that some men of the British Guards were retiring, 
that he ordered them to advance, waving his hat to them. 

" I think, therefore, that this was the time when a 
portion of the Imperial Guards halted to fire on the 52nd, 
and that immediately after this halt the British Guards 
charged and made their forward movement. It appears 
to me evident, if this statement be correct, the movement 
of the 52nd took place some time before any forward 
movement was made by the Guards. 

" Perhaps this information and the minute details which 
I have mentioned may enable you, with the different 
accounts which you have received from other officers, to 
correct the many errors into which you have fallen in your 
account of the close of the engagement. If Colonel 
Charles Rowan, Lord Strafford* and Sir F. Adam confirm 
these details, you may consider this account of the last 
two hours of the battle of Waterloo authentic, and a correct 

" I have been particular in stating many unimportant 
occurrences, because I am persuaded several absurd 
blunders and stories have originated from the movements 
of the 52nd and General Adam's Brigade having been 

" S." 

To Captain Siborne. 

[Private and confidential.] 

" Corfu, 

"22nd April, 1843. 

" Dear Sir, I was so much occupied previously to my 
departure from England that I had not time to reply to 
your letter of 2/th February. 

* Previously, Sir J. Byng. 

]- This paragraph from ' perhaps ' is omitted in the published 
Waterloo Letters, its place being supplied by stars. 


"Although I think it incumbent on me again to offer 
some remarks on the battle of Waterloo, with reference to 
my observations on the errors which it appeared to me you 
had fallen into, I send you my explanations, persuaded 
that we of the 52nd, who have so freely given our notions 
of the results of the movements towards the close of the 
action, were little qualified to furnish correct information 
on the subject of the general operations of our army, in 
consequence of our whole attention having been absorbed 
by the movements which we were actively engaged in 
carrying into effect, and that you, who have had access to 
the evidence of officers posted in every part of the field, 
must be enabled to form a just conclusion as to the grand 
features of the battle. 

" I met in town with several officers of the 52nd who 
were near me at the close of the action, and as they all 
differ materially in their accounts of it, I beg you will 
destroy the confidential statement which I forwarded to 
you, and which I drew up after being acquainted with your 
earnest desire to collect information on certain points, 
under the impression only that some of the details 
mentioned by me might tend to confirm other accounts in 
your possession. 

" Sir Frederick Adam and myself are persuaded that 
there was only one attack made by the Imperial Guards, 
and that that attack was in progress at the moment when 
the 52nd Regiment wheeled to its left and advanced, 
unsupported by any other corps excepting four companies 
of the 95th, and that the Imperial Guards halted and fell 
back precisely at that time and opened a fire from the left 
flank of their formation, and that their hesitation in moving 
to the front and change of position took place in conse- 
quence of the fire of the 52nd, its steady advance, and 
the appearance of the supporting line of the rest of Adam's 
Brigade and the whole of Sir H. Clinton's Division. 

" I was in a position which enabled me to observe the 
moment at which the columns of the Imperial Guards 
halted and closed to the rear and my attention was chiefly 
and anxiously directed, to the point where they halted. 

" I am, therefore, confident that the whole of the columns 
of the attack of the Imperial Guards that approached the 
line defended by the Brigade of British Guards were on 
march at the time the 52nd wheeled, and continued their 
march till the fire of the regiment was felt by them; and 


that the attack of the 52nd commenced after it had 
advanced 50 or 60 paces, and before any forward 
movement on the part of the British Guards. 

" I conclude, then, that the Imperial Guards assumed a 
defensive position at that time, and remained on the 
defensive till they were assailed and dispersed by General 
Adam's Brigade, and that when the 52nd commenced its 
first advance it was at least 300 yards in front of any 
other corps except the 95th and that no other regiment 
was near the 52nd on its reaching the point occupied by 
the Imperial Guards, behind the road encumbered by the 
French artillery, except the 7 1st, which regiment had 
moved to its right and did not cross the road in front. 

" The Duke of Wellington states, I believe, in his 
memorandum of the battle of Waterloo that he sent an 
order to Sir H. Clinton to advance and attack the Imperial 
Guards as they were approaching our line. This order 
was carried by Colonel Percy, who mentioned to me that 
he saw the 52nd advancing along the plain as he was 
conveying the Duke's message. The forward movement 
of the British Guards must therefore have taken place 
about the time he left the Duke. 

"All subsequent operations were defensive on the part 
of the French, and were occasioned probably by the 
simultaneous movements of the British Guards and the 
52nd, the menaced advance of Sir H. Clinton, and the 
approach of the Prussians which had compelled Napoleon 
to throw back his right wing. I remain, dear sir, yours 




Question I. At what period was Adam wounded, and 
if he did not continue with the brigade during the whole 
battle, at what time did he leave the field, and who 
succeeded to the command? 

Answer. He was wounded either during or immediately 
after the wheeling up of the 52nd to the left for the 
purpose of taking in flank the French advancing column 


in their final attack, and then left the field. No one 
assumed the command of the brigade ; the commanding 
officer of each "regiment acted according to his discretion. 

Question II. Did Sir John Colborne order the for- 
mation of four deep, and did he direct the advance and 
charge of the 52nd on his own responsibility or through 
direction of the Duke? 

Answer. The Duke of Wellington had some time 
previously ordered the formation of four deep. Sir John 
Colborne, thinking such a formation in the ordinary 
manner (i.e., with intervals between the files) inexpedient, 
did not comply with the order. But the 52nd were 
subsequently formed in two squares on the slope of the 
hill in advance of the position, from whence, after some 
time, they were withdrawn to the crest of the hill, and 
then Sir John Colborne, as the safest way of complying 
with the order, placed the left wing of the regiment in 
rear of the right wing, closed up. 

He received no directions from anyone for the wheeling 
of the regiment and the attack on the flank of the French 
column. A few minutes previously a colonel of French 
Cuirassiers had galloped in, shouting, " Vive le Roi " ; and 
coming to Sir John Colborne, informed him that Napoleon 
was forming a column of attack and pointed out where 
the formation was going on. As soon as this column 
advanced, Sir John Colborne, having said to the adjutant, 
Winterbottom, " We must bring the regiment up on their 
flank," Winterbottom said, "We cannot do it ; we cannot 
wheel the regiment." To which Sir John Colborne 
replied, " Wheel the left company, and the others will con- 
form to it." During the movement Adam came up and 
asked, " What are you about ? " To which Sir John 
Colborne replied, " Don't you see that advancing column ? " 
Almost immediately afterwards Adam's wound took 
place and he left the field. 

Question III. When the 52nd were formed four deep 
with their right shoulder forward, what was the exact 
position of the 7 1st? 

Answer. The /ist, having been in line to the right of 
the 52nd, it will be obvious that when the wheel of the 
52nd had taken place so as to bring their line at right 
angles to the position, the /ist were considerably in their 
rear. The forward movement of the 52nd was retarded 


by two circumstances. 1st The French column being, 
as usual, flanked by skirmishers, Sir John Colborne desired 
to throw out some to answer them, and requested the 
officer commanding two companies of the Rifle Corps 
(attached to the brigade) to deploy for this purpose. He 
refused, and then Sir John Colborne ordered out the right 
companies of the 52nd, checking for the time the advance 
of the regiment. The other cause was that some English 
Light Dragoons being charged by the enemy, were driven 
in with such haste that they galloped directly on the line 
of the 52nd, followed closely by the French, several of 
whom were shot close upon and even within our line, the 
men opening intervals to let them through and shooting 
them as they passed. These two causes of delay in the 
advance of the 52nd enabled the /ist, who had followed 
our movement, to come up, and they advanced on our 
right, I believe, at about the ordinary interval of battalions 
in line. 

Question IV. Did the /ist co-operate instantly with 
the 52nd advance, and yield them efficient support, and 
how near was the left of the /ist to the right of the 52nd 
at any one moment during their movement, first to La 
Haye Sainte and continued up to La Belle Alliance? 

Answer. The first part of this question is answered 

When the French column was driven back and the regi- 
ments, bringing up their left shoulders, followed them, the 
7 1st gradually increased their distance, diverging to their 
right and going to the right of the road while the 52nd 
went to the left. 

I think the /ist did not approach the 52nd again until 
both the regiments arrived at La Belle Alliance. 

Question V. What was the force of the Imperial 
Guards with which the 52nd came into immediate contact, 
and what was the total force brought up to sustain the 

Answer. The French column appeared to consist of 
six or seven thousand men. I cannot at all say what 
portion of them were of the Imperial Guard. After their 
repulse the 52nd followed them rapidly, at a run, so as to 
overtake and pass a considerable number who were 
entangled in a hollow cross-road, and then passed on to 
the attack of a body of apparently between 2,000 and 


3,000 of the Guards, who had preserved their order and 
occupied a hill rather to the left of the direct line of 
advance towards La Belle Alliance. I think there were 
three battalions of them. They opened a heavy fire on 
us as we advanced in line till we came within 50 or 60 
yards, when moving off in good order, our men being 
rather blown with their long run, by the time we got to 
the crest of the hill they had disappeared on the other side 
and we saw no more of them. A considerable space of 
ground was passed between the hollow cross-road which I 
have mentioned and the hill where these battalions 
were posted. In going over this ground the Duke was 
immediately in rear of the 52nd, and when, in consequence 
of seeing that parties of Cuirassiers who were retiring 
before us were continually trying to form, apparently with 
the intention of charging us, several of the officers were 
rather checking the pace of the men for fear of the ranks 
becoming disordered, he two or three times called out, 
" Go on, go on," and so it was that these Cuirassiers were 
fairly driven off without ever being able to make any head. 

Question VI. Was the charge of Maitland's Brigade or 
a battalion thereof seen by the 52nd, and, if so, in what 
state did they retire after breaking, as it is said they did, 
the leading column of the French Guard? 

Answer. This charge and the reported expression of 
the Duke of Wellington, " Up, Guards, and at them," are 
altogether apocryphal,* and to be classed with that fiction 
on the part of the French, " La Garde meurt, mats ne se 
rend pas" which they assert to have been uttered in 
answer to a summons to surrender by those very battalions 
of the Imperial Guards whom I have described as convey- 
ing themselves away so cleverly before we could get to 
the top of the hill on which they were posted. 

To those who claim for the Guards the credit of 
repelling this column of attack, we might say as Prince 
Hal to FalstafT, " Mark how plain a tale shall put you 
down." The 52nd having, as before mentioned, changed 
front to the left so as to bring their line to a slightly 
obtuse angle with the line of the position, and the /ist 

* To this hasty dictum we must not attach too much importance. 
In his communications to Colonel Rowan and Captain Siborne, 
Colbornc had tried to reconcile his recollections with the accounts 
given by the Guards. See also his letter to Colonel Bentham below. 


having come up on their right, they advanced on the flank 
of the enemy's column, and the left of the 52nd outflanked 
the head of the column.* On our approach the French 
halted and retired in confusion, receiving a severe fire from 
the two regiments which, bringing up their left shoulders, 
pursued them so that the 52nd passed over the ground on 
which the enemy's column had advanced. It is evident 
that had the Guards charged the head of the column, they 
must have been intermingled with the left of the 52nd, 
whereas, in fact, as to Byng's Brigade, they were stationary, 
doing nothing, like a regiment on parade, and this was 
accounted for shortly after by Sir John Byng, who told 
Colborne that they had no ammunition left, adding, " I 
was very glad to see you coming in our front." 

As to Maitland's, they had been falling back a short 
distance, but on our movement taking place advanced 
again and halted in line with Byng. The Duke also on 
our advance galloped forward, as Major Percy, one of his 
aides-de-camp, said, with a very different expression of 
countenance from that which he had worn for some while 

Not a word was heard of any charge made by the 
Guards until after our arrival at Paris, when the despatch 
had come out, and astonished everyone by the omission of 
all mention of the circumstances of the repulse of this last 
effort of the enemy, and when Lord Bathurst, in the House 
of Lords, had said, in giving an account of the action, that 
the English Guards had . . . (remainder wanting). 

To Captain W. C. Yonge. 

";th February, 1852. 

" From some questions put to me, I fear it may be the 
intention of Bentham, or some of our^ 52nd friends, to 
bring before the public the exploits of our old corps and 
its officers. Nothing can be more disagreeable or create 
more jealousy than thrusting continually before readers 
the claims, or supposed merits, of particular corps or 
officers long after the events, to be discussed or recorded, 
as a tribute to their exertions. It does no good to indi- 
viduals or generals, and such notices are very properly 
considered as puffs, or as published for some interested 

* Not so drawn in Leeke's Plate I., p. 43. 


motive. I heard the Duke of Wellington say at his own 
table at Paris in 1815, ' Let the battle of Waterloo stand 
where it does ; we are satisfied/ He knew that the first 
impressions given could not be removed easily, and that 
the merit of the English army being brought into an 
authorised controversy would become depreciated by the 
advocacy of some and the jealousy of others. Dr. Moore 
annoyed his son, Sir John, and exposed him to bitter 
sarcasms by his continual insertion in the papers [of] 
eulogiums on his gallant and successful service. Sir 
Sydney Smith, a man of extraordinary qualifications, 
destroyed his character by his talking and writing, so that 
he passed for a charlatan par tout. n 



"Deer Park, Honiton, 
w 1 5th October, 1853. 

" My dear Bentham, ... It may be more satis- 
factory to you, instead of replying to your queries, to 
draw your attention to the principal movements which 
accelerated the termination of the battle of Waterloo, and 
to the facts which would be admitted as evidence in 
support of the claims of the 52nd to the merit of having 
first checked the advance of the Imperial Guards at the 
crisis of the battle and of having completed their deroute 
by marching directly on their dense columns, and, by a 
flank movement, charging them so vigorously that the 
whole gave way and retired in confusion. The statements 
of officers engaged at Waterloo I found were generally so 
difficult and conflicting that it was impossible to draw up 
any correct account from them. Captain Siborne, I 
believe, consulted every officer in command with whom he 
was acquainted or to whom he was introduced, and 
endeavoured to make their versions correspond with the 
facts generally known relative to the movements of divi- 
sions, brigades and regiments. I have never read his 
account. If you bring the 52nd into a contest with the 
Guards by attempting to prove from rumour that the 
latter was retiring at the time they are said to have charged 
and defeated the French troops, you will raise up a host 


of opponents to your account, which would rather injure 
the cause of the 52nd. 

" I suppose that the Guards must have made some for- 
ward movement and that many officers must have seen it, 
but I contend that the French columns had been checked 
and thrown into disorder before the Guards moved. I 
saw the column of the Imperial Guards steadily advancing 
to a certain point and I observed them halt, which was 
precisely as the skirmishers of the 52nd opened fire on 
their flank. My attention was so completely drawn to our 
position and dangerous advance, a large mass of cavalry 
having been seen on our right, exposed as it was, that I 
could see no movement whatever on the part of the 
Guards ; and, indeed, as we advanced, I believe we were 
too much under their position to have had them in sight. 
Sir J. Byng's Brigade remained in line without firing or 
making any movement while we passed along its front, 
our line forming a right angle with that brigade, and 
about 200 yards nearer to the French. Sir J. Byng told 
me afterwards at Paris that he had his whole attention 
drawn to our movement, and that his brigade had no 
ammunition left. He gave us at that time full credit for 
our advance. Till the Duke of Wellington's despatch was 
made known at Paris we had never heard of the charge of 
the Guards, and I am inclined to believe that the attack of 
the French had been checked by the advance of the 52nd 
and the movements afterwards of the whole of Sir H. 
Clinton's Division, before any forward movement had been 
made by the brigade commanded by Sir P. Maitland. 
This account corresponds with that given me by Lord 
Hill, who was close to the Guards and saw no moving 
across the plain. 

" When we followed the French to La Belle Alliance no 
troops from the part of the position occupied by the 
Guards were near us, and we passed 80 guns and carriages 
a short time after the French had retired, which they had 
left on the road from La Haye Sainte to La Belle Alliance. 

" I have written this as circumstances occurred to me to 
remind me of the part we performed, without method, but 
with these remarks and the facts mentioned in the enclosure 
you may be able to judge correctly of the claims of the 
52nd. Yours very faithfully, 




" The 52nd crossed the road running in the direction of 
Hougomont, and halting in the low ground, formed two 
squares. A large mass of cavalry menaced several times 
the front and right faces of the square nearest Hougomont. 
and their guns opened fire, on which the cavalry retired, 
but not far. At the same time two guns opened on the 
same square, enfilading the left face of it. A shell burst 
at the angle, killing and wounding several men. At this 
moment Colonel C. Rowan said to Sir J. Colborne, ' Do 
you think we can stand this ? ' He replied, ' But you see 
it is not a simultaneous attack.' A few minutes after- 
wards Colonel Hervey, an aide-de-camp to the Duke of 
Wellington, rode into the square and delivered the 
message, ' The Duke wishes you to retire up the hill/ Sir 
John Colborne replied, ' Acquaint the Duke, if he thinks 
we are too exposed, that we are not suffering from the fire 
of those guns.' f Very well,' he said, ' I will mention that.' 
There was, however, a sudden rush of several companies 
of the Nassau Regiment out of the wood of Hougomont, 
from which it was supposed that the wood was occupied 
by the enemy. Therefore the 52nd formed two lines 
from square and retired up the slope to the left [right ?] of 
Sir John Byng's Brigade. A few minutes before the 52nd 
began to retire an officer galloped out from the French 
cavalry down the hill, shouting, ' Vive le Roi! ' and riding 
up to Sir J. Colborne and Colonel Rowan, stated that 
Napoleon was advancing ' there,' pointing to the road 
leading to La Haye Sainte, to attack with his columns. 
Sir John Colborne retired with this officer in rear of the 
52nd, passing through the batteries commanded by Colonel 
Gould, and after posting the 52nd in line, ordered the 
adjutant to take the wounded to the rear. 

"At about half -past six o'clock, after he had been 
anxiously looking at the dense columns moving towards 
La Haye Sainte and afterwards advancing rapidly on that 
road, he ordered the 52nd to wheel to the left on the left 
company. This brought the 52nd parallel with the flank 
of the French column of attack. A strong company, com- 
manded by Lieutenant Anderson, was ordered to extend, 
skirmish in front, and feel the enemy, and the regiment 
immediately advanced. The French troops, on feeling the 
fire of the skirmishers, appeared checked, halted, and 
opened a heavy fire on the 52nd. 


" The Imperial troops had been in movement up to this 
time, and no forward movement on the part of the Guards 
had as yet taken place. Lord Hill said a few days after- 
wards, ' I saw the 52nd moving across the plain.' It is, 
therefore, believed that the flank movement of the 5 2nd 
and the advance of Sir H. Clintons Division afterwards 
compelled the French column to halt, and whatever move- 
ment on the part of the Guards took place must have been 
ordered after the 52nd had occasioned the halt of the 
French. The 52nd, as they closed on the French, saw 
only in their front the troops opposed to them. The 
French cavalry on the right of the 52nd had retired, having 
probably been withdrawn when the Prussians first 
appeared marching on Planchenoit. The 52nd passed in 
front of the Brigade of Guards commanded by Sir J. Byng, 
advancing always on the Imperial Guards, who had 
wheeled from column and continued their fire till the 52nd 
arrived at the crest of the deep road which divided them. 
They then dispersed, and the 52nd, crossing the road, 
advanced in pursuit. At this time General Billow's skir- 
mishers appeared on the left of the 52nd and firing 
increased in the direction of Planchenoit. The 52nd must 
have been at least half an hour moving on the flank of the 
French from the time the regiment first wheeled till the 
charge took place. 

" The crisis may be called the period when the French 
columns, advancing with the intention of penetrating our 
centre, were checked and compelled to halt by the flank 
movement and fire of the 52nd. This was the very first 
appearance of a change in our favour. The attackers were 
attacked and checked in their assault and driven from the 
ground which they had gained before they could deploy. 

" The whole of the Imperial columns advanced at the 
same time and their flank was first attacked by the 52nd 
before any forward movement was made to check them in 
front The Prussians could not have attracted the atten- 
tion of the French so as to cause the throwing back of 
their right wing till after the Imperial Guards had com- 
menced the attack on our centre. The 52nd marched in 
pursuit till 9 o'clock. Biilow's column passed at the cross- 
road near Belle Alliance. 

" Colonel Percy was ordered by the Duke to carry a 
message to Sir H. Clinton to advance with his division, 
and saw the 52nd advancing along the plain as he left 

P 2 


the Duke and before any movement whatever had been 
made by the Guards. The 52nd opened fire when some 
squadrons of our own cavalry appeared in front of the left 
company of the 5 2nd. This impeded their march for 
some minutes. No regiment except the 52nd fired on the 
flank of the Imperial Guards, while this attack of the 
52nd was going on so close to the position of the 
Guards. The 52nd having been actually engaged 
closely with the divisions of the halted column for half 
an hour, there can be no difficulty, perhaps, in ascer- 
taining the precise time the British Guards charged, 
as their forward movement must have taken place during 
that half hour, and the Imperial Guards were not finally 
dispersed till the 52nd charged up the hill close to the 
road, behind which the Imperial Guards had been half an 
hour, it may be said, in position. 

"October, 1853." 



The second Lord Seaton, in 18/3, addressed a letter on 
the subject of the 52nd at Waterloo to Mr. F. Hope 
Patterson, author of Recollections of the 33rd Regiment 
(privately printed). This letter was privately printed in 
1894, after Lord Seaton's death. 

Speaking of his father, Lord Seaton writes : 

" However much he disliked interfering personally in 
this . . . controversy, ... it always caused him a certain 
amount of surprise and annoyance to find the long 
movement and march of the 52nd denied, a movement 
which was the talk, indeed, of the whole army on 
the march to Paris and during the time it was there 
stationed, and on account of which movement he had been 
daily receiving congratulations from numerous officers of 
the English army, including Sir John Byng, of the Guards, 
himself. The conversion of this extended and dangerous 
movement of the 52nd into a mere wheel of the regiment 
on the flank of the Guards annoyed him as much almost as 
seeing the movement altogether ignored (as it was) in the 
meagre despatch of the Duke of Wellington. 


"... Another point on which Lord Seaton always 
insisted was that there was one grand attack made by 
Napoleon with his Guards to break through the centre and 
follow up the advantage gained by Donzelot in the pos- 
session of La Haye Sainte, and thus establish a decided 
advantage before the Prussians could develop their attack 
in flank, and that he watched and saw the whole of this 
French attack from beginning to end, and that there were 
no two isolated attacks as described by Siborne and 
others. ... It would have placed him in an anomalous 
position, in opposition to the spirit of his subsequent 
movement, to have allowed, from his position on the hill 
facing Hougomont, the alleged first attack to have taken 
place without movement or ever seeing it. 

" Lord Seaton, however, never pretended, as Colonel 
Chesney rather sarcastically implies, that the 52nd 
defeated the whole French army. They always gave full 
credit to the energetic and brilliant co-operation of the 
Prussians . . . they agreed with Colonel Chesney in 
what he has stated as to the effect of the Prussian 
advance. . . . 

" Another point on which Lord Seaton was certain, from 
personal observation and from seeing the result, was that 
the French line generally (or except in certain instances) 
did not wait to be attacked, but broke in a succession of 
panics. . . . Lord Seaton saw this occur . . . directly 
after his charge or flank attack. A part of this you 
will see confirmed if you will read the French despatch 
a despatch that was little read in England at the time, 
but which Lord Seaton often alluded to in confirmation of 
the fact that a panic had occurred. It is published at the 
end of Cotton's book, A Voice from Waterloo" 



Lord Seaton's accounts of the movement of the 52nd 
are not perhaps as lucid as could be wished. For many 
years he seems to have tried to dismiss the subject of 
Waterloo from his mind, and when he was induced to pen 
his memoranda, he wrote apparently without the aid of 
plans and without much knowledge of what had been 
written from other points of view about the last phase 


in the great battle. If, however, his accounts are com- 
pared with those of other writers who took part in the 
movement, Mr. W. Leeke,* Colonel G. Gawler,t and Cap- 
tain W. C. Yonge,t the main facts, so far as Adam's 
Brigade is concerned, stand before us not to be assailed. 

The great difficulty is, of course, to reconcile the 
accounts of the 52nd officers with those of the officers of 
Maitland's Brigade of Guards. The latter claim to have 
themselves routed the leading column of the Imperial 
Guards, and their evidence, collected by Sir James 
Lindsay in the Army and 'Navy Gazette, 1867, p. 467, 
is not to be made light of. 

And Major Macready, in the United Service Magazine 
for 1845, shows that Colin Halkett's Brigade was also 
engaged with part of the Imperial Guard. At what 
moment did these attacks take place ? In what relation 
do they stand to the movement originated by Colborne ? 

These questions involve a further one : What was the 
constitution and formation of the French attacking force? 

Captain Siborne, after collecting the evidence of indi- 
vidual officers of different corps, was driven to adopt the 
theory that the French Imperial Guard made two attacks 
with two columns at a quarter of an hour's interval that 
the first column (formed near La Haye Sainte and con- 
sisting- of six battalions) was repelled by the British 
Guards, and the second (formed near the angle of the 
orchard of Hougomont, and consisting of four battalions) 
by Adam's Brigade and the rest of Sir H. Clinton's Divi- 
sion. This theory is now generally given up. Colborne's 
evidence is here very weighty, and he utterly scouted the 
idea of two attacks. 

Mr. Ropes || believes that the French force came on in 
two columns in echelon, the rear column being to the 
left ; that the leading column was repulsed by the Guards, 
and that Colborne saw only the rear column, which he 

* Lord Section's Regiment at Waterloo, 1866. 

f The Close and Crisis of the Action at Waterloo (United Service 
Journal, 1833). 

J Memoir of Lord Scatons Services, privately printed, 1853. 

Sir John Byng's report, " Nivelles, June 19, 1815," Sir P. Mait- 
land's report of same date, Lord Saltoun's letter of 1815, letter from 
Captain Powell (published in Waterloo Letters], &c. 

|| The Campaign of Waterloo. 


took for the whole attacking force. This theory obliges 
us to believe that the leading column of the attack could 
have advanced and become engaged with Maitland's 
Guards unseen by Colborne. Is that possible ? 

But neither Siborne nor Ropes seems to have been 
acquainted with a valuable memorandum, now preserved 
in the Morrison collection, London, written by General 
Petit, who commanded, at Waterloo, the 1st Grenadiers 
of the Old Guard. This document, which Mrs. Morrison 
has kindly allowed me to copy, if it is to be relied on, 
gives us the exact constitution of Napoleon's attacking 

According to General Petit (who seems not to use the 
expression " Middle Guard "), the infantry of the Old 
Guard was composed of two divisions, the one consisting 
of the ist, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grenadiers, the other of the 
ist, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Chasseurs. In each division the 1st 
Regiment formed a reserve. 

The strength of these regiments was (roughly) as 
follows : 

ist Grenadiers ... 1,450 

2nd ... 1,250 

3rd ... 1,250 

4th ... 800 

ist Chasseurs ... 1,450 

2nd ... 1,250 

3rd ... 1,250 

4th ... 1,000 

At the close of the battle of Waterloo the eight 
battalions composing these regiments were employed, 
according to Petit, as follows : 

The ist Grenadiers was posted in two squares near 
Belle Alliance, on either side of the Charleroi road, as a 
reserve. This was commanded by General Petit himself. 
These were the last two squares that stood their ground. 

The ist Battalion ist Chasseurs was placed behind the 
farm of Le Caillou, apparently. 

The ist Battalions 2nd Grenadiers and 2nd Chasseurs 
had been sent to Planchenoit 

The great column of attack was formed of the 3rd (ist 
Battalion only) and 4th Grenadiers and Chasseurs f in 

* The document has been used by Houssaye, in whose notes I first 
heard of it. It had also, I think, been used by the authors of the 
Victoires, Conquetes, &c., de V Armee Fran$aise, and in that case must 
have been written by 1821. It will be found in print in the English 
Historical Review, April, 1903. 

t These (3rd and 4th) regiments are often called "The Middle 



squares of battalions in echelon, but in close contact, 
except that the 4th regiments of each arm, owing to their 
weakness, only formed one battalion each. The column 
was arranged as follows : 

ist Batt. 
3rd Grenadiers. 
(Its right close to the Charleroi road.) 

4th Grenadiers. 

4th Chasseurs. 

ist Batt. 
3rd Chasseurs. 

2nd Batt. 
3rd Chasseurs. 

The total strength of this column was therefore about 
3,675 men. 

When this column was repulsed, an attempt was made 
to bring forward the 2nd Battalions 2nd Grenadiers and 
2nd Chasseurs, but they had similarly to fall back. 

Meanwhile the 2nd Battalion 3rd Grenadiers was posted 
at a point between Belle Alliance and Hougomont, the 
Emperor remaining with it during the attack. The bat- 


talion was joined by Cambronne with 2nd Battalion 1st 
Chasseurs. These, if we should follow Petit, would be 
the squares of the Guard which retired when the 52nd 
approached them after its encounter with the main column. 
But Colborne speaks of " three squares," and Houssaye 
makes these consist of the 2nd Battalion 1st Chasseurs 
and the above-mentioned 2nd Battalions 2nd Grenadiers 
and 2nd Chasseurs. 

On the strength of Petit's account of the formation of 
the main attacking force, M. Henri Houssaye* constructs 
the following theory of its defeat 

He maintains that by the time the five squares in 
echelon approached the British lines they had become 
four, owing to the fourth combining with the third. These 
echelons, of which three consisted of only one battalion 
each, attacked the British line at different points. The 
first encountered the left of Halkett's Brigade, the second 
the right of that brigade, the third, the strongest, was 
repelled by Maitland's Guards, the fourth by Adam's Bri- 
gade. Each echelon encountered a force superior to it in 
numbers, and was repulsed in detail. This view, though 
consistent with the plan of the battle drawn by Craan, is 
strongly contradicted by Colborne's evidence, as well as 
that of most other witnesses, English and French. 

Colborne maintains that he saw the approaching force 
as a column, that he wheeled the 52nd Regiment on 
the left flank of the first body, and that up to that time 
there had been no fighting on the part of the Guards. 

Is it possible to reconcile these statements of so com- 
petent an eye-witness with the testimony of combatants 
at other points of the Allied line? With great diffidence 
I would suggest that they can be reconciled in the 
following manner : 

Petit tells us that the column formed as he has 
described marched parallel to the Charleroi road till it 
had passed La Haye Sainte. We know that from that 
point at least, instead of keeping its previous direction, 
it crossed the field diagonally to its left, if not in obedience 
to an order, by a natural tendency to take the line of least 

What effect would this change of direction have on 
the formation of the attacking body? 

* 1815, Waterloo. 


Each square would execute a half-left wheel movement. 
British Guards. 

If the dotted lines be taken to represent the original 
position, and the continuous lines the new position of the 
squares, it will be seen that they will now be no longer 
in echelon but in line. 

If we then suppose that the left squares (the original 
rear squares) got at all in advance of the squares on their 
right*, and if we further suppose that two or three of the 
squares on the left got more or less massed together one 
in rear of the other, the attack would be made somewhat 
as follows : 



" A 


**8 *e 

0^ ,.C 



* Captain Meiklejohn points out in a letter that the greater resist- 
ance offered to the French squares on the right than to those on the 
left, and the fact that they were marching over ground more 
encumbered with the results of previous righting, might well cause 
these squares to make less progress than those to their left. He 
suggests also that the intervention of the French Light Artillery might 
cause the left squares to lose touch with those to their right, and 
diverge still more to the left. 


Now such a formation would satisfy the conditions of 
the problem. 

While Colborne and Leeke, speaking only, we may 
suppose, of the troops approaching their angle of the 
position, saw them as two columns with an interval 
between them, an observer in the 2nd Battalion 95th 
Regiment, Corporal Aldridge, whose testimony is given 
in Siborne's Waterloo Letters, says that, to his eye, " The 
French came up in three columns abreast of each other; 
they looked like quarter- distance columns." 

The plan of the battle, by the Belgian, Craan, 1816, 
represents the French Guards as deployed in four bodies 
opposite different points of the Allied line. And Major 
Macready, 3Oth Regiment, stated in the United Service 
Magazine, 1 845 : " All I heard and all I read of those 
events soon after their occurrence would, equally with 
what I saw, have led me to conclude that the first* attack 
of the Imperial Guards came in contact with the British 
front in an echelon or line, and not in a mass of columns 
something as represented in Craan's plan." 

Assuming then that the French Guard came on in the 
manner indicated, Colborne may well have seen the whole 
body advancing from La Haye Sainte, as he describes 
and have brought the 52nd Regiment on the flank of the 
leading square (or column), according to his contention, 
before ever the British Guards were engaged. He could 
not, of course, safely have brought his regiment on the 
flank of the leading square if other squares had been 
following in echelon on his right. 

When the leading square, owing to Colborne's move- 
ment, came to a halt, we may suppose that the squares 
to its right and rear continued their course and en- 
countered Colin Halkett's Division and Maitland's Guards. 
These squares, we may then suppose, were already thrown 
into confusion by the British fire and charges when the 
troops on the left were driven back under the fire and 
charge of Adam's Brigade, and, as Captain Yonge says, 
" involved in their disorder the other troops in echelon on 
their right."! 

* He is here presuming the truth of Siborne's theory of the two 

f It is remarkable that Yonge assumes the rear part of the 
attacking force to have been echeloned to its right, and Leeke draws 
it so in his plan, p. 43. 


If this theory be found untenable, I can only leave the 
task of reconciling the various accounts of the repulse of 
the Imperial Guard to enthusiasts possessed of more 
military knowledge than I can claim, and a more than 
ordinary amount of courage. 



Abercromby, Col. Hon. A., 159. 
Abercromby, Hon. James. See 

Dunfermline, Lord. 
Abercromby (Abercrombie), Gen. 

Sir John, 130, 155. 
Abercromby (Abercrombie), Sir 

Ralph, in Holland, 8 15 ; in 

Minorca and Egypt, 22 26. 
Acadie, 281. 
Adam, Sir F. Waterloo Campaign, 

225, 238, 244, 401, 406, 409, 410 

412; Ionian Islands, 329, 330. 
Adam's Brigade at Waterloo, 

215237, 398428; at Paris, 

241 246. 

Adams, Mr. G. G., A.R.A., 377. 
Addington Ministry, 43. 
Airey, Lord, 373. 
Alava, d', Gen. M. R., 219. 
Alba de Tormes, Battle of, 131. 
Albemarle, Lord, Story told by, 

216, 217. 
Albert, Prince Consort, 351, 374; 

visits Napoleon III. at St. Omer, 


Albuhera, 155 ; battle of, 158162. 
Alemtejo, The, 132, 143, 146. 
Alexander, Sir J. E., 364. 
Alexandria, 2532, 42, 59, 101. 
Alhandra, 142, 144, 145, 146. 
Alkmaar, Battle of, 19. 
Almeida, 93, 139, 143. 
Alten, Gen. Baron, 183, 187, 189, 

190, 201. 
American Captain, an, Stories of, 


Anderson, Canon, of Montreal, 310. 
Anderson, Lieut. M., 52nd, 401, 406, 


Anderson, Col., no 114, 117, 252. 
Anglesey, Marquis of (Lord Paget, 

Lord Uxbridge), 86, 97, 103, 124, 

219, 222, 347, 385, 386. 
Anstruther, Brig.-Gen., 114. 

Antonio De Bane, a servant, 122, 

155 ; letter from, 178. 
Antony, Cornwall, 125, 165, 177, 

181, 208, 272. 
Apsley House, 378. 
Areizaga, Gen., 130, 133, 395. 
Armorial bearings, 311. 
Arthur, Sir George, 297, 301, 308, 


Ashworth, Brig.-Gen., 145. 
Astorga, 95, 96, 102, 104, 105, 386, 


Atalaya, 137, 138. 
Austerlitz, Battle of, 48. 
Austria and Napoleon, 47, 59. 
Austria, Archduchess Sophia of, 368 
Austria, Archduke John of, 368. 
Austria, Emperor of (Francis 

Joseph), 367369. 
Azuaga, 156, 157. 

Badajos, 90, 131, 133, 135, 150, 152, 
154, 156, 157, 159. I0 "o; storming 
of, 176 n. 

Baden, 247. 

Baird, Gen. Sir D., 31, 93 96, 102, 
1 1 6, 383 397 passim. 

Balaclava, Battle of, 355, 362. 

Ballesteros, Gen., 160. 

Barcelona, 203. 

Barclay, Lieut. -Col. (52nd Regt), 

Bargus, Alethea Henrietta. See 
Yonge, Mrs. John. 

Bargus, Frances Mary. See Yonge, 
Mrs. W. C. 

Bargus, Miss, 82. 

Bargus, Richard, 68. 

Bargus, Rev. T., 3, 4, 13, 124, 125 ; 
letters to, 7 120 passim. 

Bargus, Mrs. Thomas. See Col- 
borne, Mrs. Samuel. 

Bargus, Mrs. T. (Mary Kingsman), 
4, 62, 95 ; letters to, 129, 132. 



Barham Downs, 8. 

Barkway, Herts, 7, 44, 45, 7173. 

Barnard, Gen. Sir A., 170, 176 n t 

204, 247. 

Barrosa, Battle of, 155. 
Bathur^t, Lord, 234, 415. 
Bayonne, 198, 199, 328. 
Beauharnois, 303, 304, 305. 
Beckwith, Maj.-Gen. Charles, 194, 

199, 222 ; family history, 223 n ; 

letter from, 362. 
Beckwith, Col. T. S., 173. 
Bedard, Judge, 308. 
Beechwood, Plympton, 367, 370, 

Belle Isle, 22. 
Benalcazar, Colborne's gallantry at, 

Benavente (Benevente), 82, 105, 

384, 385 ; cavalry affair near, 97, 

102104, 385, 386. 
Bentham, Col. (52nd), 415 ; letter 

and memorandum to, 416. 
Bentinck, Lord William, 389. 
Beresford, Marshal, 144, 149 151, 

154) I S5> J 59, 160, 162, 206. 
Bergen, Battle of, 17 19. 
Berlin, 247. 

Betanzos, 390, 391, 397. 
Bethune, Bishop, of Toronto, his 

estimate of Colborne, 322. 
Birch, Col., 74. 

" Birkenhead," The loss of the, 347. 
Blake, Gen. (of the Spanish Army), 

95, 160, 395- 

Blakeney, Gen. Sir E., 348. 

Blucher, Marshal, 244. 

Bonaparte, Joseph, 50, 134. 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, 29, 33, 43, 
86, 96, 102, 107, 134, *n, 212, 
214, 215, 240, 393 ; seen by Col- 
borne at Waterloo, 223, 224, 400; j 
book read by, 244. 

Borgia, 54. 

Boucherville, 303, 304. 

Bouchette, R. S. M., 292. 

Boulton, Mr. (Attorney-General of 
Upper Canada), 259, 266. 

Bowen, Sir G. F., 334, 339. 

Boyle, Lord, 4. 

Brabourne Lees, 73 75. 

Bragganstown, 4 n, 367. 

Braine-le-Comte, 215. 

Bridge-making, 148, 149. 

British character, 108, 135. 

British soldiers, Quality of, 107, 198. 

Brodrick, Gen., 387. 

Brooke, Lord, 3. 

Brotherton, Col., 232. 

Brown, " General " T. S., 286, 288. 


Brussels, 208, 210, 211, 214. 
Buenos Ayres, Disaster at, 69, 73, 


Buller, C., 299. 
Billow, Gen. Von, 228,402,403,408, 


Bunbury, Sir H. E., 53, 123. 
Bunbury, Mrs. (born Fox), 155. 
Buonaparte. See Bonaparte. 
Burghersh, Lord, 127. 
Burgos, 91, 93. 

Burgoyne, F. M. Sir J. F., 350. 
Burrard, Capt., in. 
Burrard, Sir Harry, i. 
Burrard, Gen. Sir Harry, 80 85. 
Busaco (Vusacos), Battle of, 140, 

Byng, Gen. Sir John. See Strafford. 

Cadiz, 133, 134. 

Cadoux, Capt. D. (95 th Regt.), 184. 
Cairo, 30; capitulation of, 25, 26. 
Calabria, 33, 35, 36, 5156. 
Calahorra (Calhorra), Colborne's 

frustrated ride to, 90, 92. 
Cambridge, H.R.H. Adolphus, Duke 

of, 327. 
Cambridge, H.R.H. George, Duke 

of, 350; letters from, 335, 370. 
Cameron, Gen. Sir Alan, Stories of, 


Campbell, Col. (41 st Regt.), 73, 120. 
Campbell, Lieut. G. (52nd), 401. 
Campbell, Capt. J. (42nd Regt.), 

Story of, 148. 

Campo Mayor, Affair of, 150 154. 
Canada, 378 ; the defence of, 374. 
Canada, Lower, 271 322. 
Canada, Upper, 253270, 280, 291, 

296, 319; Reserve Lands question, 

260, 261 ; Rebellion in, 304 321. 
Canadian Rebellion, 1837, 285 

293, 320; 1838, 301 306, 320; 

courts-martial, 306 311, 320, 321. 
Canaveral, Colborne's ride to, 91. 
Canning, Right Hon. G., speech by, 

on the Corunna Campaign, 121 ; 

his Ministry, 251; death, 252. 
Canterbury, 7, 8. 
Capua, Prince of (son of ex-King 

of Naples), 368. 
Cardigan, Lord, 369. 
Cargill, Lieut. (52nd Regt.), 187 . 
Carlisle, (7th) Earl of, 364, 369. 
Carmichael, Col., 303. 



Castanos, Gen. (of the Spanish 

Army), 90, 92, 96,395. 
Casteleur, Chateau of, 197, 199. 
Castello Branco, 139. 
Castel Sarrasin, 207. 
Castlereagh, Lord, 81, 121 n. 
Castricum, Battle of, 19. 
Castro de Gonzalo, 102, 103, 385, 


Caughnawaga, 302. 
Cavan, Earl of, 31. 
Cephalonia, 336338. 
Ceuta, 64. 
Chalmers, Lieut.-Col. W. (52nd), 

405, 408. 
Chamusca, 148. 
Chartres, Duke de, 245. 
Chenier, Dr., 289, 290, 293. 
Chesney, Col., 421. 
Chester, 248. 

Chobham Camp, 350 352. 
Christ's Hospital, 24. 
Cintra, Convention of, 83, 85, 94. 
Ciudad Rodrigo, 93, 134, 143, 150; 

siege of, 165 175. 
Clarke, Col. J. (66th), 158. 
Claval, Col., 53. 

Clephane, Lieut.-Col. (20th), 73. 
Clinton, Sir H., 99, 213. 
Clinton's Division at Waterloo, 

215237. 39 8 . 400, 401, 402, 422. 
Clonmell, Lord, 364. 
Clonmell, Lady, 364. 
Coa, Battle of the, 137, 138. 
Coimbra, 85, 175179- 
Colborne, Charles, 12. 
Colborne, Cordelia Anne. See 

Yonge, Mrs. Duke. 
Colborne, Hon, Cordelia, 284, 361, 

366, 375. 
Colborne, Lieut. -Gen. the Hon. Sir 

Francis, 247, 249, 284, 291, 292, 

301 ; in the Crimea, 352, 355, 364 ; 

letters to, 366, 372; letters to, 

on duties of officers, 344, 352; 

letter to, on the Crimean War, 

Colborne, Hon. and Rev. Graham, 

349. 372, 37 6 - 

Colborne, Hon. James. See Seaton, 
2nd Lord. 

Colborne, Hon. Jane. See Mont- 
gomery-Moore, The Hon. Lady. 

Colborne, John Saumarez, Death of, 

Colborne, Lady (Miss Elizabeth 
Yonge). See Seaton, Lady. 

Colborne, Samuel, I, 2. 

Colborne, Mrs. Samuel, I 4. 
Coldwater, Upper Canada, 265. 
Cole, Gen. Sir G. Lowry, 155, 188, 

328; at Albuhera, 159; at Orthes, 

200 203. 

Coleridge, Sir J. T., 327. 
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 2, 39 n. 
Collins (Canadian journalist), 254, 


Combermere, F. M. Viscount, 348. 
Commanding officers, Duties of, 344. 
Constantino, 156, 157. 
Cooke, Lieut.-Gen. Sir G., 234. 
Coote, Gen. Eyre, 2628. 
Corfu, 332344. 
Cork, 21. 
Corunna, 93, 383, 397; retreat to, 

96 1 08, 384, 397 ; battle of, 100, 

108110, 117, 390, 391. 
Cotton's Voice from Waterloo, 421. 
Crabbendam, 8 16. 
Craig, Lieut.-Gen. Sir James, 46, 48, 


Crampton, Capt. J. (95th Regt.), 169. 

Craufurd, Gen. J. Catlin, 389. 

Craufurd, Gen. R., 391 ; at White- 
locke's trial, 74 ; Battle of the Coa, 
J 37. *38; at Ciudad Rodrigo, 172, 
173; stories of, 170, 173, 174. 

Crimean War, 352 362 ; Sir G. 
Napier's and Lord Seaton's com- 
ments on, 355361. 

Cross, Capt. J. (52nd), 402, 408. 

Cuesta, Gen. (of the Spanish Army), 
128, 130, 395. 

Cunningham, Gen., 19. 

Curragh, the, Reviews at, 366, 372. 

Dalrymple, Gen. Sir Hew, 80, 82, 

83, 85. 
Davies, Capt. J. H. (ist Foot Guards), 


Davoust, Marshal, 239, 240. 
Deer Park, near Honiton, 34.5, 346, 

Derby (i4th), Earl of (Mr. Stanley), 


Des Voeux, Sir C., 12, 14, 15, 327. 
Devonport, 378. 

Diggle, Gen. C., Anecdote of, 63. 
Dittisham, 349, 372. 
Divisions. See Peninsular Army. 
Don, Major-Gen., 8, 9. 
Donzelot, Gen., 421. 
" Doric Club,'' 280, 282. 
Douglas, Sir Howard, 361. 
Douglas, Sir James, 85. 
Douro, Passage of the, 126, 127. 

43 2 


Downes, Lord, 346, 364. 
Dresden, 247. 

Drummond, Major-Gen., 164. 
Drummond, Mr. (Minister at 

Palermo), 64. 
Dublin, 363372. 
Duckworth, Admiral, 59, 127. 
Duckworth, Col. G. H. (48th Regt.), 


Duffey, Capt. J. ( 43 rd Regt.), 169. 
Dundas, Col. (83rd), 306. 
Dundas, Mr., M.P., 99. 
Dunfermline, Lord (Jas. Aber- 

cromby), $11,315. 
Duquette (Canadian rebel), 310. 
D'Urban, Sir B., 156 , 157. 
Durham (ist) Earl of, 302, 309; 

Governor-General of Canada, 295 

301 j his Report, 255, 296, 311. 

Eden, Lieut.-Col. John, 310, 311. 
Eglinton, Earl of, 364. 
Egmont Binnen, Battle of, 19. 
Egmont op Zee, Battle of, 17 19. 
Eguia, Gen. (of the Spanish Army), 

128, 130. 
Egypt, Expedition to, 25 32 ; 

second expedition to, 59, 101. 
El Bodon, 1 66, 168, 169. 
Elder, Col. G. (Portuguese Ca9a- 

dores), Story of, 176**. 
Ellenborough, Earl of, 331. 
Ellice, Edward, 305. 
Ellice, Mrs. E., 305. 
Elvas, 91, 133, 134, 154; Colborne 

sent to procure the surrender of, 


England, Col., 65. 
Esla, The, 102104. 
Esterhazy, Prince, 368. 
Estremadura, Spanish Army in, 

128131, 395. 
Estremoz, 86, 90. 
Exeter, 6. 

Falmouth, 115. 

Fane, Gen. H., 390, 393. 

Fane, Capt. T., 195. 

Fareham, 4. 

Fergusson's scheme for the defence 

of Portsmouth, 350. 
Ferrol, 397. 

" Fits de Liberte" 279, 280, 282. 
Fisher's portrait of Lord Seaton, 

373, 378. 
Flaxley, 181. 
Florence, 247. 
Foncebadon, 105. 

Fort George, Minorca, 22 25. 

Fox, Gen. Henry, 5764, no, 122; 
stories of, 65, 66. 

Fox, Mrs. H., 61, 62, 109. 

Foy, Gen., 202. 

France, Occupation of , by the Allies, 

Fraser, Maj.-Gen. A. M., 385, 387, 
396, 397- 

Fran9ois (Sir J. Moore's servant), 
no, 112, 114. 

Fraser, Sir W., 352. 

French and English in the Penin- 
sula, Relations of, 127, 145, 148, 

French officers, Stories of, 187, 195, 

223, 239, 400. 

Frere, Right Hon. J. H., 121 , 394. 
Freyre, Lieut. -Gen. (Spanish Army), 


Friedland, Battle of, 62. 
Fuente Ovejuna, 156, 157. 
Fuentes de Onoro, Battle of, 164. 

Gaeta, 49, 50, 56. 

Galicia, Moore's campaign in, 
104107, 3 8 3397. 

Galluzzo, Capt.-Gen. of Estrema- 
dura, 90, 395. 

Garonne, R., 204. 

Garstin (2Oth Regt.), 36. 

Garstin, Cordelia Anne. See Col- 
borne, Mrs. Samuel. 

Gawler, Col. G. (52nd), 227, 398; 
praises Lord Seaton's movement 
at Waterloo, 231, 232. 

Gerona, Siege of, 135. 

Gibbs, Major E. (52nd), 169. 

Gibraltar, 38, 41, 64, 67, 70. 

Girod, Gen., 88. 

Girod (Canadian rebel), 289, 290, 


Gizeh, 30. 
Glenelg, Lord, 261, 272, 273, 294, 

307; letter to, 261 264, 316; 

despatches from, 271, 272, 299, 

309; letters from, 299, 316. 
Goddard, Dr. (Winchester), 4, 124, 


Godden, Sir Robert, 211. 
Goderich, Lord. See Ripon, Earl of. 
Gold, Lieut.-Col. C., 400, 406. 
Gomm, F. M. Sir W. M., 96 n. 
Gordon, Col. J. Willoughby, in, 

117, 120. 

Gore, Col. Hon. C., 285289, 304. 
Gosford, (2nd) Earl of, 276, 378 

28 J, 294. 



Gottenburgh (Gottenborg), 75 77. 
Gough, (ist) Viscount, 364. 
Gould. See Gold. 
Graham, Col. T. See Lynedoch, 

Grant, Lieut.-Col. C. (i5th Hussars), 


Greece, 332, 336, 337, 3*0342. 
Gregg, Commodore (Russian 

service), 47. 
Greville, Charles, 36. 
Grey, (3rd) Earl, 338. 
Guelphic Order, 274. 
Guernsey, Colborne Lieut. -Gov. of, 

249253, 326; Elizabeth College, 

249, 250. 
Guinaldo, 165. 
Gurwood, Lieut. J. ($2nd), 167, 171. 

Hagerman, Mr. (Solicitor-General of 
Upper Canada), 259, 301. 

Halifax, N. S., 279. 

Hamilton (Upper Canada), 255. 

Hamilton, Gen., 12, 15, 16. 

Hamilton, Lady, and Nelson, 66, 

Hanover, 344. 

Hardinge, (ist) Viscount (Sir H. 
Hardinge), at Albuhera, 159; on 
the march to Paris, 244 ; praises 
Lord Seaton, 326; Commander- 
in-Chief, 348, 350, 355, 360 n, 363. 

Harris, Dr. (Torquay), 376. 

Head, Sir F. B., 264, 271 273, 275, 

Head, Col. M. (i3th Lt. Dragoons), 

Heathcote, Sir W., 327. 

Helder (Heelder), The, 8, 13, 14, 
1 6. 

Hervey, Gen. (Col.) F. E., 86, 126, 
127, 223, 400, 405, 418. 

Hesse-Philippsthal, Prince of, 50, 


Hill, Viscount (Sir R. Hill), 409, 417, 
419; Hill's Division, 132 162, 
401 ; at Busaco, 140 ; Wellington's 
opinion of him, 140; in the 
Pyrenees, 328; his action at St. 
Pierre, 198, 199; Commander-in- 
Chief, 300, 313, 314 n. 

Hoghton, Major-Gen. D., at Albu- 
hera, 159. 

Holland, Expedition to, 7 20. 

Holland, King of, 210, an. 

Hope, Gen. Sir John (4th Earl of 
Hopetoun), 93, 94, 95 , 96, 100, 
in, 1 1 6 118, 385, 387, 390, 396. 

Houat, Island of, 22. 

Hull, 248. 

Hume, Jos., M.P., 260, 278, 326. 

Hutchinson, Lieut.-Gen. (2nd Earl 

of Donoughmore), 25 28, 31. 
Hyams, Bagshot, 350. 

Indian Army in Egypt, 30, 31. 

Indians in Canada, 262, 301 ; address 
from, 264. 

Infantry officers, ought to be 
mounted, 214. 

Inglis, Sir R., 327. 

Inkerman, Battle of, 355,358, 360. 

Ionian Islands, 277 ; Sir F. Adam 
Lord High Commissioner, 329, 
330; Lord Seaton, ditto, 331 
343; history of, 332; constitu- 
tion of 1817, 333, 336; Lord 
Seaton's reforms, 337343. 

Ireland, Lord Seaton Commander 
of the Forces in, 363 372. 

Jaraicejo, 128. 

Jones, Sir J. T., 388, 392, 393. 
Junot, Marshal, Duke of Abrantes, 
67, 82, 83, 84, 86. 

Kellermann, Gen. F. C., and the 
Convention of Cintra, 85, 86, 88, 
89; story of, 94. 

Kempt, Gen. Sir J., at Maida, 51 
53; at Vera, 186, 189; at Orthes, 
201 ; his advice to Colborne, 251, 
252 ; Gov.-Gen. of Canada, 309 ; 
in London, 327. 

Kent, H.R.H. the Duke of, Stories 
of, 41. 

Keppel, Lieut. See Albemarle, Lord. 

Kilmainham, Rojal Hospital, 363, 

Kingston, 306. 

Kirkwall, Viscount, 339, 342. 

Kitley, 330, 331. 

Lacy (Lascy), Marshal (Russian 

service), 47. 
La Mancha, Spanish Army of, 129, 

130, 132, 395- 
Lamb, Charles, 3. 
La Prairie, 303, 307. 
Las Agallios, 165. 
Latour-Maubourg, Gen., 150, 156, 


Le Boutillier, Mr. G., 249. 
Leeke, W. (52nd Regt.), 209, 214, 

216, 220, 221, 224, 227 n, 237, 

238, 242, 243, 248. 



Lefebvre-Desnouettes, Gen., 97, 98, 

102104, 386. 
Leith, Gen. Sir]., 141. 
Le Noble, Mons., 388, 391, 393. 
Lesaca, 183. 

Leweson-Gower, Maj.-Gen., 74. 
Lewis, Sir G. C., 374. 
Lichfield, 6, 248. 
Lisbon, 70, 84, 86, 88, 90, 91, 93, 

146, 165, 176 n, 395. 
Liverpool, 6. 
Liverpool, Lord, 121 n. 
London, 116 124, 165, 324 327, 

345349* 37 2 ; Freedom of the 

City presented to Lord Seaton, 

Londonderry, (3rd) Marquis of 

(Gen. Sir C. Stewart), 118, 121, 

127, 347. 348, 384- 
Love, Gen. Sir J. F., 364. 
Lowe, Sir Hudson, 213, 246. 
Lugo, 100, 105, 384 397/>ass/w. 
Lumley, Hon. William, 33, 153, 


Lygon, Col, 242. 
Lymington, I, 3. 
Lyndhurst, i, 346. 
Lynedoch, Lord (Col. T. Graham), 

75, 86, 97, in, 155, 182, 324; 

extracts from diary, 90, 114, 115 ; 

stories of, 98 100. 
Lyneham, 323, 327. 
Lysons, Gen. Sir Daniel, 292 . 

MacDonald, Col., 17 19. 
Macdoncll, Major-Gen. Sir J., 303, 

317. 3*8. 

Mackenzie, W. L., 258261, 266. 
McLean, Capt. (2oth), 51, 52. 
McNamara, Lieut. T. (95th), 169. 
Madrid, 93, 96, 143, 384. 
Magilla, 157. 

Maida, Battle of, 34, 5156, 68. 
Mailhot (Canadian rebel), 303. 
Mainwaring, Col. (5ist), 164. 
Maitland, Gen. Sir P., 254, 257, 347 ; 

Maitland's Brigade at Waterloo, 

224, 232, 234, 235, 398428. 
Maitland, Sir T., 332. 
Malta, 23, 30 ; 2oth Regt. stationed 

at, 3345- 

Mamalouc beys massacred, 31. 
Mannheim, 247. 
March, Lord. See Richmond, Duke 


Mareotis, Lake, 27, 28. 
Maria Theresa of Austria, Order of, 

241; its centenary, 367 369. 

Markham, Capt. (32nd), 286. 

Massena, Marshal, in Italy, 50, 56 ; 
besieging Almeida, 139; defeated 
at Busaco, 140, 141 ; invades 
Portugal, 142 147; retreats, 148 


Matcham, Mr. Eyre, 6, 372 374. 
Maude, Gen., 74. 
Mayorga, 385, 393. 
Mein, Capt. W. (52nd), 167 170, 

189; story of, 184. 
Melbourne, Lord, 324. 
Menou, Gen., 26, 27, 31. 
Merbe Braine, 216, 217, 220. 
Merry, Capt. A. (52nd), 169. 
Messina, 50, 52, 55, 58, 60, 68. 
Mileto, Action at, 59. 
Militia, 23, 346. 
Militia, ist Staffordshire, 7. 

2nd Staffordshire, 7. 

3rd Lancashire, 7. 

,, Irish, 21, 366. 
Milton, Lord, 121. 
Minorca, 22 26. 
Missisquoi, 292. 
Moncey, Marshal, 238. 
Mondego, R., 141, 142, 150. 
Montgomery- Moore, Gen. Sir A. G., 

241, 365, 3 6 7369- 
Montgomery- Moore, The Hon. Lady, 

112 n, 235, 324,369,372. 
Montreal, 270, 274, 279 282, 286, 

288 290, 293, 296, 299, 300, 302, 

303. 307. 3*8, 320. 
Moore, Francis, 118, 122. 
Moore, Adm. Sir Graham, 1 1 1 n ; 

letter from, 256. 
Moore, James Carrick, 112 n, 126, 

130, 389, 393- 

Moore, Dr. John, 118 n, 122 n, 416. 

Moore, Gen. Sir John, 116, 118, 119, 
121 n, 125, 163, 416; in Holland, 
9 ; in Sicily and Gibraltar, 57 
71 ; in Sweden, 72 79; in the 
Peninsula, 80 84, 91, 92 ; on the 
retreat to Corunna, 102 106, 
383 394; death of, 108 115, 
117; Colborne's appreciation of, 
61, 100 102, 106 109, 117, 251, 
365, 3 8 3397 J stories of, 94, 97, 
98, 100 ; his conduct debated in 
Parliament, 120 122; letters of, 
118, 130; his supporters to his 
arms, 311 n. 

Moore, Mrs. Stephen, 324. 

Moore, Wm., Letter from, 252. 

Mortier, Marshal, 134, 150, 154. 

Mulcaster, Capt. (R. E.), 167. 



Murray, Gen. Sir George, 77, 78, 
125, 129, 182, 190, 242, 247, 255, 

Napier, Sir Charles J., 114, 329 n, 

Napier, Sir George T., 113 115, 

170, 176 n, 199, 202, 203, 387, 

389; atCiudad Rodrigo, 171, 172; 

letters from, 256, 269, 355 ; 

letter to, 356. 
Napier, Sir W. F. P., 231 his 

opinion of Sir J. Moore and of 

Colborne, 251 ; letter from, 252 n; 

letters to, 327329, 383394. 
Napier, Lady (Miss Caroline Fox), 


Napierville, 302 304, 306. 
Naples, 35, 36, 43, 66 ; expedition 

to, 46 50. 
Naples, King and Queen of. See 

Two Sicilies, King and Queen of. 
Napoleon I. See Bonaparte. 
Napoleon III., 354. 
Nelson, Adm. Lord, 23, 43, 45, 64; 

stories of, 66, 67 ; character 

defended, 374. 
Nelson, Robert, 302, 303. 
Nelson, Dr. Woiford, 280, 283, 285, 

286, 288, 289, 292. 
Netherlands, The, 208 213. 
Nettles, Ensign W. (52nd), 407. 
Neuilly, Bridge of, Crossing of the, 


New Brunswick, 280. 
Newcastle, Duke of, 355, 360 n. 
Newton Ferrers, 125, 377. 
New York, 270, 271. 
Ney, Marshal, Duke d'Elchingen, 

134, 245. 
Niagara, 297. 

Nicolay, Col. W. (Staff Corps), 399. 
Nisbet, Josiah, 67. 
Nivelle, Battle of, 189 196. 
Nivelles, 215, 238. 
Noble. See Le Noble. 
Nogales, 388, 391. 
Normanby, (ist) Marquess of, Letter 

to, 312, 313; letters from, 312, 

Nora Scotia, 278. See " Halifax." 

Ocana, Battle of, 130, 131, 133, 205. 
Odelltown, 302, 304. 
O'Donnel (Odonnel), Gen., 135. 
O'Hara, General C, 64, 65. 
Oliphant, Lieut.-Col. (2Oth), 45. 
Olivenca, 150, 155. 

Oporto, 141, 142; Bishop of, 143. 
Orange, Prince of, 208 ; stories of, 

209 213; Colborne, Mil. Sec. to, 

208 213. 

Orthes, Battle of, 199 203, 231, 328. 
Osman Bey, 31. 

Otterbourne, Hants, 4, 346, 352, 355. 
Otway, Col. L. W. (i3th Light 

Dragoons), 150, 152. 

Paget, Gen. the Hon. Sir E., 108, 

112, 117,390, 392,393. 
Paget, Mr. (Sir) James, 375, 376. 
Paget, Lord. See Anglesey. 
Pakenham, Gen. Sir E., 205. 
Palermo, 56, 58, 62. 
Palmerston, Viscount, 251. 
Pamplona (Pampeluna), Siege of, 

183, 184, 327. 
Panet, Judge, 308. 
Papineau, L. J., 260, 274, 276, 278, 

280, 282, 283, 285, 286, 288. 
Paris occupied by the Allies, 238 

246; revisited, 247, 331, 369. 
Pasley, C. (R.E.), 391. 
Patterson, F. Hope, 420. 
Peel, Sir Robert, 325. 
Pembroke College, Oxford, 3, 350. 
Peninsular Army: 

2nd Division (Hill's), 132 162 
passim ; at Busaco, 140, 141 ; 
at St. Pierre, 198. 

3rd Division (Picton's), 200, 202, 

4th Division, 159, 160, 200, 203. 

6th Division^ 200. 

7th Division, 200, 203. 

Light Division, 163 208 passi m. 
Peninsular War, 80 209, 383 397. 
Perceval, Right Hon. S., 121. 
Percy, Col. the Hon. H., 112 114, 

225, 401, 411, 419. 
Petit, Gen., 225 n, 228 n, 233 , 423 


Petten, Battle of, 17. 
Petty, Lord H., 121. 
Phillpotts, Major, 305. 
Picquets, 10, 144, 145, 185. 
Picton, Gen. Sir T., 203, 206, 218. 
Pierrepont, Capt. (2Oth), 68, 177. 
Plymouth, 180. 
Pompey's Pillar, 26, 28, 30. 
Portalegre, 133, 134. 
Portsmouth, The defence cf, 350, 


Portugal, 80 92 ; Massena's in- 
vasion of, 142 147 ; Royal family 
of, 70; King John of, 144. 



Portuguese Army, English officers 

in, 145- 

Powlett, Capt. (2oth Regt.), 12, 18. 
Prescott (Upper Canada), 304, 306. 
Preston, 6, 7. 
Prideaux, Sir E., 378. 
Prussia, King of (Frederick William 

III.), 248. 
Puslinch, Yealmpton, 125, 165, 181, 

208, 323, 330, 367, 373. 
Pyramids, The, 29, 30. 
Pyrenees, The, 193 ; Battles of, 183. 

Quebec, 277, 280, 281, 284, 294, 
295, 300, 319, 320; Plains of 
Abraham, 278, 296. 

Queenston, 297. 

Quevres-au-Camp, 215. 

Radcliffe, Lieut.-Col. (2Oth), 369. 

Raglan, Lord (Lord FitzRoy Som- 
erset), 201, 202, 209, 275, 300, 
327, 356, 364 ; letter to, 313. 

Regiments : 

2nd Life Guards, 353. 

1st (King's) Dragoon Guards, 

297, 303. 
7th Hussars, 303. 
lOth Light Dragoons (Hussars), 

103, 385, 386. 
I3th Light Dragoons at Campo 

Mayor, 150154. 
i8th Light Dragoons, 385. 
23rd Light Dragoons, 227, 413. 
Grenadier Guards, 303. 
ist Foot (Royals), 286, 287, 288. 
3rd (Buffs), 137; at Albuhera, 

1 5th, 301, 303. 
1 7th, 8, 303. 
20th, 6 73 passim, Si, 83, 369, 

336, 387- 
23rd, 392. 

24th, 284, 286, 298, 303. 
26th, 353. 
27th, 51,52. 
28th, 390. 
29th, 159, 1 60. 
3ist, 137, 160. 
32nd, 285, 286, 287. 
40th, 8. 
42nd, 390. 
43 ra ", 138, 298; at the storming of 

Fort San Francisco, 166 171. 
48th, 137; at Albuhera, 159 162. 
50th, 390. 
5'st, 389, 392. 

Regiments (continued] : 

52nd, 63, 163 250 passim, 283, 
311, 317, 319, 325, 345, 376, 
378, 386, 387, 398-428 passim. 

57th, 1 60. 

59th, 392. 

63rd, 8. 

66th, 1 30-163 passim, 267, 286,303. 

7ist, 216, 221, 223, 225, 226, 228, 
230, 238, 399413 passim. 

73rd, 303. 

76th, 387, 389, 392. 

79th, 136. 

83rd, 306. 

94th, 260. 

95th (Rifle Brigade), 138, 163, 
l6 7> 173. !83, 189, 200, 201, 
216, 221, 226, 227, 387, 399, 
401 413; Lord Seaton becomes 
Colonel-in-Chief, 374. 

Portuguese Ca9adores, 133, 140, 

141, 143, 152, 158, 163, 183, 186, 

189, 192, 200, 20 :, 203; parting 

from the Light Division, 208. 
Reynier (Regnier), Gen., 52, 137, 

138, 139, 145. 
Rhune, La Petite, Storming of, 

Richardson, Major John, 296, 297, 


Richelieu, R., 281, 286, 301. 
Richmond, Duke of (Earl of March), 

178, 202, 325. 

Richmond, Surrey, 118, 122. 
Ripon, Earl of (Viscount Goderich) 

252 , 259, 262. 

Roebuck, J. A., M.P., 278, 313 n. 
Roli9a, Battle of, 83, 84. 
Romana, Marquis of, 105, 135, 395. 
Rome, 247. 

Ropes, Mr. J. C., 234, 422, 423. 
Rosetta, 29, 30. 
Ross, Major-Gen. Robert, 12, 33, 34, 

63, 67, 120, 207, 387. 
Rothes, Lady, 372. 
Rowan, Col. Sir C., 227, 235, 239, 

240, 404 406, 409, 414 n, 418. 
Rowan, Field-Marshal Sir W., 364, 

398, 403 ; letter from, 379. 
Rueda, 384. 
Russell, Lord J., 277, 295, 325, 327, 

328, 337, 346. 
Russia, Emperor of (Alexander I.), 

243, 248. 
Russia, 59, 85 ; allied with England 

in Holland, 17 ; at Gibraltar, 41 ; 

in the Mediterranean, 44 50 ; 

Crimean War, 352 364. 



Ryder, Judge-Advocate, 74. 
Rysbraeck, J. M. (sculptor), 

Sahagun, 384, 385, 393. 

St. Benoit (St. Bennet), 290, 291. 

St. Boes, 200, 201, 203. 

St. Charles, 285, 286, 287, 288. 

St. Cyr, Marshal, 47. 

St. Denis, Lower Canada, 280, 

St. Edouard, 303. 
St. Eustache, 289 291, 293. 
St. Germain, 246. 
St. Helen's (Isle of Wight), 80, 83. 
St. Jean de Luz, 189, 200. 
St. John's, 308. 
St. Lucia, no. 
St. Martha, 160. 

St. Martin's, Lower Canada, 293. 
St. Miguel, 141, 142. 
St. Omer, 248. 
St. Pierre, Action of, 198. 
St. Remi, 303. 
St. Scholastique, 291. 
Sala, 199. 
Salamanca, 91, 93 95, 131, 134,383, 


San Domingo, 74. 

San Francisco, Fort of, Capture of, 
1 66 171. 

San Sebastian, Siege of, 182 184. 

St. Andero (Santander), 181. 

Santarem, 142, 148 150. 

Saragossa, 135, 395. 

Sarzedas, 139. 

Saugo, 165. 

Schagen Brug, Battle of, 12 16, 
1 8. 

Scharnhorst, Gen., 348. 

Scott (Canadian rebel), 293. 

Scott, G. E. (52nd Regt.), 222. 

Seaton, F.M., Lord, passim. 

Seaton, Lady (Miss Elizabeth Yonge), 
125, 165, 181, 246253, 346, 351, 
355, 3 6l > 373, 375 377 J tetters 
from, 275, 281, 286, 287, 290, 300, 
302, 303, 306, 307, 308,309,311, 
314, 315, 318, 354, 366, 372. 

Seaton, 2nd Lord (James Colborne). 
246, 247, 249, 284, 304, 331, 
345, 367, 377 I paternal directions 
to, 268; letter to, 379; memo- 
randum by, 420. 

Seaton, Lady (Hon. Charlotte de 
Burgh), 345, 377. 

Seaton, 3rd Lord, 353, 379. 

Sebastopol, 355 360. 

Selsey, 2nd Lord, 7, I2O. 

Selsey, Lady (Hester E. Jennings), 

1 20. 
Selwyn, G. A., Bishop of New 

Zealand, 331. 

Seville, 129, 133, 134, 143, 158, 160. 
Shaw- Kennedy, Gen. Sir James, 

praises Colborne's movement at 

Waterloo, 230, 231. 
Shedden, Capt. J. (52nd), 405. 
Siborne, Capt., Letters, &c., to, 

403 411, 414 n. 
Sicily, 3338, 5767, 75, 331- 
Sierra Morena, 160. 
Skerrett, Gen., 183, 184, 349. 
Smith, Lieut. -Gen. Sir Harry, 142, 

J 53 W > 159 , 164, i66n, 180, 184, 

187192, 197, 198, 207, 31 1 n, 

347,349, 352,356, 381. 
Smith, Lady (Juana M. de Leon), 

198, 352 ; a meeting with Lord 

Seaton, and his regard for her, 


Smith, Lieut.-Col. (27th), 52. 
Smith, Adm. Sir W. Sidney, 28, 70, 

Smyth, Lieut.-Col. (20th),8 10, 12, 


Snodgrass, Col. K., 192. 
Somerset, Lord FitzRoy. See 

Raglan, Lord. 
Sonnini, C. N. S., 28. 
Sontag, Gen. (Dutch), n. 
Sorel, Lower Canada, 279, 280, 284, 

285, 286, 289, 291, 298, 302. 
Soult, Marshal (Duke de Dalmatic), 

96, 102, 104, 129, 130, 154, 158, 

160, 161, 182, 183, 198, 203, 327, 

328, 389, 393, 395. 
Southey's History of the Peninsular 

War, 100, 253, 393, 394396- 
Spaniards, Character of the, 133 

136 ; how regarded by the French, 

195 ; at Toulouse, 204, 205, 328. 
Sparkwell, Devon, 379. 
Sperling, J. (R.E.), 232. 
Stanhope, Major Hon. C., 114. 
Stanhope, Capt. Hon. J., 112 114. 
Stanhope, Lady Hester, 112. 
Stanley, Mr. See Derby. 
Stewart, Sir C. W. See Londonderry. 
Stewart, Gen. Sir W., 140, 148, 150, 

153, 161 ; report by, 161. 
Stockholm, 76 78. 
Strafford, Earl of (Maj.-Gen. Sir 

John Byng), 234, 324, 328, 401, 

403, 406, 409, 415, 417, 420. 
Straggling in Moore's Army, 391, 

392> 396. 



Stuart, Major-Gen. Sir John (Count 

of Maida), 51 53, 56, 57. 
Stuart de Rothesay, Lord (Mr. 

Stuart), 211, 395. 
Sweden; King of (Gustavus IV.), 75, 

77 79 J expedition to, 75 79, 

Sydenham, Lord (Mr. Poulett 

Thompson), 316, 318. 
Syracuse, 38, 43, 47. 

Tagus, R., 133, 134, 137, 138, 140, 

142, 144, 148, 150, 154. 
Talavera, Battle of, 125 129, 174. 
Tarbes, Battle of, 203. 
Taylor, Sir H., 252; letter to, 272; 

letter from, 274. 
Thomar (Tomar), 150, 154. 
Thompson (R.E.), 167. 
Thompson, Mr. Poulett. See Syden- 
ham, Lord. 

Tierney, G., M.P., 121. 
Toronto (York), 254, 258, 259, 260, 

266, 267 ; King's College, 257 ; 

Upper Canada College, 257, 321. 
Torquay, 249, 344, 376, 377. 
Torrens, Sir H., 252; letter from, 


Torres Vedras, Lines of, 142. 
Toulouse, 203, 204, 207 ; Battle of, 

204 206, 328. 
Townsend, Miss, Letter to, 92, 108, 


Trafalgar, Victory of, 46. 
Travers, Capt. J. (95th), 169. 
Trench, Mrs., her diary, 374. 
Trinidad, 253. 
Turks, 26, 29. 
Two Sicilies, Kingof the(Ferdinand), 

35 5) 66; Queen of (Caroline), 

46, 64, 66, 101 ; King of (Joseph), 


United Service Club, 378. 

Upton, Col. the Hon. A. P. (Guards), 

Story of, 183. 
Uxbridge, Lord. See Anglesey. 

Valenciennes, 248. 
Valetta, 23, 39. 
Valladolid, 93, 95, 96. 
Venegas, Gen., 128 , 134, 395. 
Vera, Bridge of, 184 ; storming of 

the Pass of, 185 189, 231. 
Versailles, 246. 
Victor, Marshal, 128. 
Victoria, Queen, 307, 300, 350, 351, 

354, 369, 372. 

Villafranca, 98, 144, 386, 387, 389 


Villamur, Gen., 156. 
Vimiero (Veimira), Battle of, 83 


Vittoria, 91, 181. 
Vivian, Gen. Sir Hussey, 203, 219, 

326, 403. 

Wade, Col. T. F., C.B., 39. 

Walker, Capt. (20th), 18. 

Wallace, Major (2oth), 73. 

Ward, Sir (Mr.) Henry, 339 ; letter 
to, 340342. 

War Office, 251, 252. 

Warton, Dr. Joseph, 4. 

Warwick, Earl of, 6. 

Washington, 274, 306. 

Waterloo, Campaign of, 217 237, 
361, 398 428 ; battlefield re- 
visited, 344; Banquets, 326, 330, 
346, 347- 

Weedon, 248. 

Weir, Lieut. G. (32nd), 285, 287, 
288, 299. 

Wellesley, Hon. Henry, 124. 

Wellesley, Lady Emily, 209. 

Wellesley, Lord Charles, 301. 

Wellesley, Sir A. See Wellington, 
Duke of. 

Wellington (ist), Duke of (Sir A. 
Wellesley), 82 84, 124, 125, 128, 
129, 139, i68, 170, 172, 175, 178, 
182, 1 86, 189, 199, 212, 237, 247, 
325 327, 411, 416; at Vimiero, 
83,' 84; at Talavera, 127; at 
Busaco, 140; before Nivelle, 190, 
191 ; at Orthes, 201 203 ; at 
Toulouse, 204 206 ; at Waterloo, 
223, 226, 227, 400, 402, 407 419; 
Waterloo despatch, 233, 417, 420 ; 
funeral, 347 ; his sword, 349 ; 
stories of, 164, 171, 188, 210, 211, 
218, 241 246; note from, 181. 
Colborne's opinions : of his 
regard for the aristocracy, 126; 
his genius shown in 1810, 142 
144; ditto throughout the Penin- 
sular War, 207 ; ditto at Water- 
loo, 236; his character in old 
age, 329 ; Colborne's supposed 
resemblance to, 267, 296,301, 371. 

Wellington, (2nd) Dake of, Note 
from, 349. 

Wetherall, Col. G. A. (Royals), 285, 
286, 287, 304. 

Whinyates, Capt. E. C. (R.H.A.), 



Whitelocke, Gen., 69; trial of, 73, 


Whyte (White), Gen., 74. 
William IV., 274, 275. 
Winchester, 3, 7. 

Winchester College, 36, 355. 379. 
Windham, W. (M.P.), 121. 
Windsor, 7. 
Winterbottom, Lieut. J. (Adjutant, 

52nd), 203, 412. 
Wolseley, Field- Marshal Viscount, 

217 n. 

Wood, Col. Sir G. A. (R.A.), 218. 
Woodford, Gen. Sir A., 347. 
Woodgate, Lieut. J. (52nd), 169, 170. 

Yarmouth, 20. 

Yealmpton, 246, 247, 249, 288. 

Yonge, Miss Charlotte M., 4, 5, 6 , 

16, 22, 236, 237, 251, 355. 
Yonge, Rev. Duke, 43, 118, 125; 

letters to, 160, 178. 
Yonge, Mrs. Duke (Cordelia Anne 

Colborne), 2, 43, 126, 367; letters 

to, 13, 22,35, 116, 177, 272. 
Yonge, Miss Elizabeth. See Seaton, 

Yonge, Rev. James, 125. 

Yonge, Mrs. James (Lady Seaton's 
mother), 323 ; letter to, 290. 

Yonge, Rev. John, 181, 298, 323, 
377; letters to, 275, 277, 278, 
281, 286, 287, 298, 370. 

Yonge, Mrs. John (Alethea Henri- 
etta Bargus), 3, 62, 95, 323, 367 ; 
letters to, 44, 67, 71, 75, 76, 95, 
119, 122, 123, 126, 131, 134 (2), 
138, 141, 146, 179. 

Yonge, Capt. W. C. (52nd), 220, 
221 n, 251, 346; his praise of 
Colborne's movement at Water- 
loo, 229 ; answers to questions of, 
411, 416. 

Yonge, Mrs. W. C. (Frances Mary 
Bargus), 4, 62, 68, 95, 250, 251, 
352; letters to, 137, 180, 237, 


York. See Toronto. 
York, H.R.H. the Duke of, 7, 8, 16, 

19, 60, 118, 120, 124, 136, 397. 

Zafra, 156. 

Zamora, 165. 

Zezere, R., 140, 147, 148,' 149. 

Zijp Dyke, 8, 12, 19. 

Zurich, 247. 



Smith, George Charles Moore 

The life of John Colborne, 
field-marshal lord Seaton